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DB:. OTT, 1 















Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the 

Northern District of New York. 

Printers, Bufialo, N. Y. 

KSBOa. MlAmmiam .JZ"^W 


FEB 12 15 


Ever since I began to write for the young, the im- 
pression has been fastening itself upon my mind, that 
every individual is, or should be, a missionary ; and that 
this is as true of woman as of man. Indeed, I have come 
to the conclusion that she is the more efficient missionary 
of the two. I have therefore v\^ished to prepare for her a 
work in this spirit,— one which should serve as a kind of 
second volume to the "Young Woman's Guide," but 
should be imbued at the same time with more of the spirit 
of piety. 

I have addressed the young woman, because, as Jacob 
Abbott has well said, no one is apt to think herself old ; 
so that all books, it would seem, in order to be read, 
should be written for the young-. Besides, I have always 
hope of the reformation, or at least of the improvement of 
the young ; while of the old little is to be expected. And 
I have written to a sister, that by having before the mind's 
eye a reality, I might be at once more earnest, more 
familiar, and more practical. It has been my purpose, in 
one word, to show woman, in a plain and direct manner 


by what means, methods, and instrumentaJities, her mis- 
sion may be best accomplished. 

May the excellencies of the book, if it have any, un- 
der the Divine guidance, fulfil my most earnest inten- 
tions ; and its failings, of v/hich I am conscious it may 
have many, be covered with the mantle of charity. 




Estimates of Influence.— Quotation from Timothy Flint.— A Difficulty, 
and an Objection.— The Objection answered.— Woman can be what 
ehe ought to be.— Every ons has a Mission.— Woman has hers.— She 
is almost omnipotent.-What it is to be Uke Christ.— What, to coope- 
rate with him.-What, to represent him.— Woman should be hia 
Representative.— Woman's Mission distinctly stated.-How she is t© 
fulfil it • ^^ 



aow to imbibe this Spirit.-First thing: Reflection.— Secondly : Acting 
up to your Convictions of Truth; Resolutions of Amendment.— Thu-d- 
ly: Bringing forth Fruits.— Hungering and Thirsting after Righteous- 
ness.-Conscientiousness.— Elevated Purposes and Views.-Aneedota 
of Rev. Joseph Emerson.— The Spirit of Heaven.- An Objection cm- 
ridei-sd.—Self-E2anlination recommended 23 


CHArXER ni. 


The Connection of Mind and Body. — A ]Mistake corrected. — Health al- 
ways desirable. — Health, exceedingly rave. — Hereditary tendencies. — 
Acquired ones. — Your Health, under God, at your own disposal. — 
Proofs and Illustrations of this great Doctrine.— Words of Encourage- 
ment. — ^The great Doctrines of Health stated and defended. — An Infer- 
ence or two. — Personal Directions.— The Study of Hygiene recom- 
mended.— What Hygiene is 38 



Necessity of Amusement.— Different Forms of it.— The Law of Adapta- 
tion.— Temperament to be considered. — Of Amusements in the Open 
Air.— Rambles abroad. — " Eureka." — Walking to do Good. — Horseback 
Exercise.— Other Forms of Amusement. — Case of a Person with a 
Bilious Temperament. — Whole-heartedness in your Amusements. — 
Of Excess in Amusement. — Of Morbid Consciousness on this Sub- 
ject 52 



Definition of Terms. — Labor, a Blessing as well as Curse. — Your own 
Employment singularly happy.— Why so.— Others often l&ss Fortunate. 
—Burying Young Women in Shops and Factories.— Deterioration of the 
Race by wrong Occupation. — How this happens. — Housekeeping the 
healthiest Female Employment. — Earnestness recommended.— A Cau- 
tion or two 61 

Our Study-days never over. — The Keys of Knowledge.— Anecdote, from 
my own History. — Teaching : in Sibbaih School ; in Week-day Schools. 


—Personal Improvement in Teaching.— The Science of Teaching.— 
Your Duties in the Public School qualify you for Family or Household 
Duties. — Housekeeping to be studied.— Mental and Moral Philosophy. — 
Modem Languages. — Mathematics.— The Natural Sciences.— Natural 
History of Man 69 



Caesar's Wife." — I do not forget whom I am addressing. — You are to 
form Character for the Twentieth Century. — Apology for referring, 
once more, to Woman's Mission.— Seek the aid both of Philosophy and 
Christianity. — Studying Chesterfield. — Jesus Christ, after all, your great 
Model. — Why Females, more than Males, embrace Christianity. — ^How 
Woman rules the World 78 



Duty of Elder Brothers and Sisters explained. — Where Woman's Mission 
begins. — Ruling over the Younger: what it means. — He rules most 
who serves most. — How an Elder Sister can serve. — The Guilt of Cain. 
— Apostrophe to Young Women who read Novels and study Dress.— 
'V^'Tiat can be done by Young Women in the Family. — Reasoning with 
Yomiger Friends. — Playmg with them. — Loving them. — Cullvate the 
Love of the Young.— Story of Plato and his Nephew. — Example of our 
Saviour 86 



Your Duty, as a Younger Sister, to those who are Older.— Dangeroua 
Period of Life's Journey. — Ancient Princes brought up by Women.— 
Woman the Educator of our Modern Princes, the People.— flow you 


can educate them.— Story of Dr. Rush.— Direct Efforts in Behalf oi 
Elder Brothers.- General Rule in regard to the Young.— One Thing at 
a time.— An Anecdote 96 



Never despair of doing Good, even to your aged Parents.- Why the Old 
are so often Invulnerable.— Making haste slowly.— Disputation.-The 
Socratic Method.— Asking Questions.— Changing the Current of Con- 
versation.— Spirit, rather than Form. — Power of your own Example.— 
Example means a great deal.— Green Old Age.— Appeal to the Young. 
How to secure a Green Old Age to yourself .... 104 



We are under special Obligations as well as general ones.— Duties to 
others.— Our Saviour's Example.— We are all one great Family.— Illus- 
trations of Duty beyond the Family Circle.— Circles of Influence.— 
Case of Belinda.— Her Perversity.— How to Change her Habits of Ac- 
tion and Thought. — Her Case not a solitary one.— Solomon, what he 
was and what he now is. — How he became so ... . 112 



Our Obligations to Acquaintances.- Our Ability to serve them and benefit 
them. — Jealousies and Envies among Friends. — ^More can often be done 
for mere Acquaintances.— Methods of doing Good to Acquaintances.— 
Should we have but few Acquaintances ?— Arbitrary Customs of So- 
ciety 125 




Young Women should be accustomed to Letter Writing.-A long List oi 
Correspondents.-An Error in our Schools.-Letter Writing is mere 
Talking on Paper.— Might be a Pastime rather than a Piece of Drudg- 
ery.-Doing Good by Letter.-Long Letters, and short ones.— Gratitude 
to God.-Anecdote, illustrating the Usefuhiess of Correspondence.— 
Other Remarks on its Practical Importance .... 130 

Writing Poetry.-Books for the Young.-Authors poorly paid.-Sabbath 
School Books.-Writing for Periodicals.-When to write.-General Di- 
rections, derived from Experience.-Writing late in the Evening.- 
How Light and Heat injure the Eyes.-Heat and Light combined.— 
■ Attempts at Wit.-Good Nature.-Sprightliness.-Quotation from the 
Poet Young . . . • 


Quotation from an old School Book.-Real Friendship rare—Nature of 
True Friendship.-Damon and Pythias.-A stiU nobler Example.- 
Living for one another.-Living and Dying for each other compared.— 
Several Kinds of Friendship. -True Friendship not often found in the 
Family.— Particulars on the Subject.— Application of the Subject.— 
Examine yourself -Seeking Friends. -Fii'st Rule for this.-Second 
Rule.— Seek first in the Family.— Go out of it, if necessary, afterward. 
—More Friends than one _ • . ^^ 




Human Beings made for Society.— Thoughts on the Social State.— Philos- 
ophy of Social Life and of Friendship.— Separation of RelaUons ia the 
Family.— New Friendships.— Philosophy of Conjugal Life.— Why tha' 
Young, of both Sexes, have low Views on this Subject. — No Instruction 
given them.— Courtship not rightly managed.— Watts's Opinion.— 
Friendship the principal Element of Conjugal Happiness. — Friends of 
an opposite Sex, most useful to us.— Matrimony a Duty on the part of 
both Sexes.— Necessary to the Perfection of Human Character.— Objec- 
tions considered. — The Young Man's Guide. — Marriage necessary to the 
Fulfilment of Woman's Rlission 152 



Capability for Friendship.— Defects of Education.— Females the Suffer- 
ers from it.— One true Man in a Thousand.— Some there are, who care 
for others.— How they are to be discovered.— Liabilities to Deception.— 
The Counterfeit implies the Genuine.— Smoke implies Fire.— The Use 
of good Sense. — ^Matrimony not quite a Lottery. — The borrowed part. — 
Means of getting off the Mask.— Social Parties.— Evils and Lrregulari- 
ties, connected with them. — Evils of late Night Hours. — A Change of 
Public Opinion and Practice predicted.— Large Faith necessary.— En- 
comium on Matrimony 161 


Divine Guidance invoked. — Selfishness will " out." — In what ways.— So 
of Benevolence ; it will show itself. — Counterfeits. — Anecdotes of two 
Englishmen.— The Virginia Gentleman. — A Rule or two.— Reformed 
Rakes.— Helplessness of many Young Men.— A Maternal Error.— State 


©fthingsgrowing Worse.— Great Care necessary in your Selection.— 
Young Men and Young Women, created to serve Mankind, not to be 
served.— Perfection not to be expected, however.— A Gem, but not of 
Golconda.— The Gospel Spirit 1?'2 


Benevolence as a Qualification for Friendship illustrated.— Use of Tobac- 
co.— How to detect the Habit of using it.— Use of Alcohol.— Slovenly 
Habits.— Aping Great Men.— Stealing Heaven's Livery.— Slip-shod 
Young Men.— Slip-shod Friendship.— Mercy and Tenderness.- Cow- 
per's Views.— Fretting too much.— Two Kinds of Fretting.— Yankee 
Character. — The genuine Fretter irreclaimable.— Love's Home. — Mim- 
icry, Drollery, and Bufloonery.— Laugh and be Fat.— Good Common 
Sense.— Having a Helm.— Illustration.— Self-Denial ... 183 


Connection and Dependence of Mind and Body.— Importance of Physical 
Improvement.— A healthy Friend better than a sickly one.— Make tha 
best of every thing.— Beauty of Form and Feature.— Rank and Fortune. 
—Future Generations to be regarded.— Difference in regard to Age.— 
Early and late Unions.— Views of Dr. Johnson.— Qualities you do not 
yourself possess.— The Opposite of Melancholy; Speculation; Des- 
pondency. — Hope on, hope ever 195 



Things in which the Parties to Conjugal Life should agree :— 1. In regard 
ing Home as a School— 2. Having a general Plan or System.— 3. Sim- 
ilarity of Views about Discipline.— 4. There should be Agreement aa 


to Religious Opinions.— 5. Small Habits of Life.— 5. Diet and Regi- 
men.— 7. A mutual Determination to do Right .... 204 



Preliminaries.- The Search.— Searching with supposed Success.— Sud- 
den Changes of Feeling.— Results.— Disappointment.— Your Depres- 
sion. —Imprecations.— Folly rather than Villany.— Loneliness.— A De. 
mand for Philosophy and Religion.— Avoid Vindictiveness.— Shall a 
Legal Process be instituted ?— Solace yourself.— You do not suffer alone. 
—Rise above your Trials.— Never think of giving up in Despair.— Con- 
scious Innocence.— There is a World to come.— Guardian Angela here 
Acting the Coquette 214 



Holiness before Happiness.- Doing Good as a Pastime.— Franklin.— Cot- 
ton Mather.— Jacob Abbott.— Pharcellus Church.— Thomas Dick. — 
The Works of all these Men defective.— The Science of Pliilanthropy.— 
Display mingled with Efforts to do Good. — Blessedness of doing Good. 
—How we receive the Blessing.— Examples of being blessed in doing 
Good. — Application of tliis great Doctrine to yourself. — The more you 
do, the more you can do.— Looking forward . . . . 227 



Meaning of my Terms. — A Case cited.— Seek out Subjects to which yo^ 
may be useful. — Lay Missionaries. — You need not wait for them. — Di»- 
cipleship to our Saviour. — Particular Directions when to do Good.— 
Public Houses. — Factories. — Milliners' Shops. — Be Wise as the Serpem. 
and Harmless as the Dove.— Pleasure of saving Souls and Bodies.-- 


Boldness in doing your Work— McDowell— Mrs, Prior.— Mrs. McFar- 
land.— Reflections 237 



Other Firea besides those mentioned in the last Letter.— The Fire of Al- 
cohol.— Families who have been scorched.— Their desolate Condition. 
—To whom you should appeal in their behalf.— How to approach 
them.— Your Plea.— The downward Road.— Plucking from the Fire at 
Home.— Opposing the Use of Tobacco.— Reasons why Young Women 
act the Missionary in this respect so little.— Appeal to the Con- 
science "^^ 



Associations for doing Good.— Some of them mentioned.— The Sewing 
Circle.— Moral Reform Societies.— Falling by little and little.— Tern- 
perance Societies.— Peace Societies.— Prevention of Evil.— Changing 
or Improving the Tone of Conversation.— Woman not sent forth as a 
Missionary single-handed . 254 


Your Labors aheady, and their Blessedness.— The Sabbath School a part 
of the Church.— Every Church Member a Missionary.- Every one 
should feel as Paul did : " Wo is me," &c.— How you are, as a Sabbath 
School Teacher, to proclaim the Gospel.— Beginning at 'Jerusalem.'— 
The Home Missionary Field the most difficult.— Your involuntary Influ- 




Laxity of the Public Morals.— General disregard of Truth.— How and 
why Falsehood increases.— Falsehood of Parties and Sects.— Conse- 
quences.— Set yourself against it.— Li what way.— Fraud.— What the 
Iklission of Woman has to do with this.— Mercy.— The Seeds of Cruelty 
every where sown. — Woman must change the state of things. — How. — 
Fly-Killers. — ^Wantonness in killing other Animals. — ^What Peace So- 
cieties might do.— What is Woman's Duty 267 



Woman not to be, in all cases, a Physician.— Reasons why,— Always a 
Nurse. — Necessities of the present sickly Season. — Woman should be 
ready to respond to Calls to attend the Sick. — Go boldly but not reck- 
lessly.— Particular Directions.— Avoid dosing and drugging yourself 
in these cases.— Obey all Law, physical and moral.— The Secret of 
nursing the Sick 275 



A Queiy.— Reply.— Redeeming Time.— Importance of Living by System. 
— Elements of an improved System of Living.— Regular Habits of Re- 
tiring and Rising.— Savmg Time from Sleep. — Time saved m Dressing. 
—Simplicity in Eating and Drinking.— Excuses usually made in this 
particular.— These Excuses not valid.— Luxuries.— Time wasted by- 
Cooking.— This subject illustrated. — How time might be redeemed. — 
Appeal.— Your Apology.— Woman's Time might half of it be re- 
deemed.— Morning Calls misapplied.— A Difficulty.— Hence the De- 
mand for Self-Denial.— Woman must awake to the Subject of Female 
Emancipation.— Concluding Remarks 282 




Recapitulation of the foregoing.— Tlie World a World of Self-Sacrifice.— 
Christianity based on Sacrifice.— Self-Denial not all of Woman's Duty. 
—Is she aware of this great Truth ? or is she very Selfish, after all?— 
An Esplanatioa.— An Appeal to Young Women ... 303 

^JIL Lipi||||p 




There is much of truth in the very common 
remark, that it is the fashion of the age to ex- 
alt young men. I have admitted this in the 
" Young Woman's Guide," and have apologized 
for it. Young women, I said, have influence 
and responsibility as well as young men ; nay, 
even more and greater than they. And in the 
numerous counsels, cautions, and instructions 
of that volume, I have, as I trust, done some- 
thing on their behalf— something for their in- 
tellectual and moral elevation. 
But the importance of the young woman's 



influence rises in my estimation, every day and 
hour I live. I thought much of her, as an agent 
under God and with God, ten years ago ; now, 
she seems to he like conscience, one of God's 
own vicegerents. 

You have heard me speak often of the late 
Rev. Timothy Flint, of the Western Review, 
and his notions concerning female influence. 
I am not in the habit of making long quota- 
tions from other writers, especially in the be- 
ginning of a book ; but I beg leave for this 
once, to commend to your notice a few para- 
graphs from one of his essays, by way of intro- 
duction to what follows. 

" The vain, ambitious, and noisy," says he, 
" who make speeches, and raise the dust, and 
figure in the papers, may fancy that knowledge 
will die with them, and the wheels of nature 
intermit their revolutions when they retire from 
them. They may take to themselves the unc- 
tion and importance of the fly, that fancied it 
turned the wheel upon which it only whirled 
round. But the fair that keep cool, and in the 
shade, with miruffled brows, kind hearts, and 
disciplined minds ; that are neither elevated 



much nor much depressed— that smile and ap- 
pear to care for none of these things— these, 
after ah, are the real efficients that settle the 
great points of human existence. Men cannot 
stir a step in life to purpose, without them. 
From the cellar to the garret, from the nursery 
to the market-place, from the cabin to the presi- 
dent's chair, from the cradle to the coffin, these 
smilers, that when they are wise appear to care so 
little about the moot and agitating points of the 
lords of creation, in reality decide and settle 

" There are a number of distinct epochs of 
the exertion of this influence. They rule us 
at the period of blond tresses, and the first de- 
velopment of the rose. They fetter us alike 
before and after marriage ; that is, if they are 
wise, and do not clank the chains ostentatiously, 
but conceal the iron. They rule us in maturity, 
their rule us in age. No other hand knows the 
tender, adroit, and proper mode of binding our 
brow in pain and sickness. They stand by us 
in the last agonies, with untiring and undis- 
mayed faithfulness. They prepare our re- 
mains for the last sl^ep. They shed all the 


tears of memory, except those of the mocking 
eulogy, and the venal and moaning verses, that 
water our turf. Some of them remember more 
than a year, that their lovers, brothers, hus 
bands, fathers, existed. Who can say that of 
men ? 

" They are purer, less selfish, less destitute 
of true moral courage, more susceptible of kind 
and generous impressions, and far more so ot 
religious feeling, than men. So Park found 
them, — so all qualified observers have found 
them. So the annals of the church have found 
them. So, in our humble walks have we found 
them. Surely, then, every thing which con- 
cerns the education of this better half of the 
species must be of intrinsic importance. If this 
world is ever to become a happier and better 
world, woman, well educated, disciplined, and 
principled, sensible of her mfluence, and wise 
and benevolent to exert it aright, must b» the 
original mover in the great work." 

Excuse these quotations — I know you will, 
however ; for do they not deserve to be written 
in letters of gold? Do they not deserve to be 
treasured up in the memory as sayings of price- 


.ess value ? What though woman is rather 
more selfish in her own way than Mr. Flint's 
remarks imply, and what though there may be 
occasionally more sound than sense in what he 
says, yet with every reasonable abatement, is 
there not enough left to immortalize their author? 

But if woman is deserving of all these en- 
comiums, in her present half-developed — I was 
going to say half-savage — state, what will she 
not be, when in some blessedperiodof the world's 
history she shall be "well educated, disciplined, 
and principled?" Alas for the immense loss the 
community has sustained for the want of the 
full exercise of those powers, which a better and 
more truly Christian education might have 
early developed ! 

The w^orst difficulty, however, is to make the 
community feel that they have sustamed a loss. 
Many who admit it in word, do not really be- 
lieve and feel it, after all. What we have never 
enjoyed ourselves, though fairly within our 
reach, we hardly attach any value to. It is 
only when " the well" from which we have been 
accustomed to slake our thirst " becomes dry, 
that we know the worth of water." 


Suppose we had, for once, on the stage oi 
human action, a generation of females who 
came fully up to the high standard such a 
^ man as Mr. Flint would place before them — 
a generation, in one word, who understood the 
true nature of their mission, and were endeav- 
oring in the strength of God, to fulfil it. Sup- 
pose that with the physical power and energy 
of such a woman as Semiramis — the intellect- 
ual activity and power of a Somerville — the 
philanthropy of a Dix or a Fry — and the piety 
of a Guyon or a More, there were coupled the 
benevolence, the self-denial and the self-sacri- 
fice of Jesus — in other words the pure spirit of 
the Gospel. What might not be expected from 
her, even in a single generation? But suppose 
still farther — for this is the point at which I am 
now aiming — that after having been blest by a 
generation of such women, who should co-op- 
erate with the Redeemer to restore a world 
which woman was so instrumental in ruining, 
we were to be suddenly deprived of them ; 
should we not then knov/ something of their 
value ? 

I doubt, however, whether one person in ten 


can be brought to believe woman is susceptible 
of being elevated as high as the spirit of my re- 
marks may seem to indicate ; even though our 
efforts for the purpose were extended to a thou- 
sand years. Most may admit, that woman 
ought to be and do all I have said ; but it is 
one thing to know what we ought to be and 
do, as I shall be told, and quite another thing 
to do it. 

Now I understand all this. Indeed, I ad- 
mit it all. But I do not admit, for " the faith 
once delivered to the saints" does not 'permit 
me to do so, that woman cannot be all that 
she ought to be. If she ought to sustain the 
character which I have here faintly portrayed, 
then it seems to me we have no right to say 
that she cannot do it, nor to act as if we be- 
lieved she could not. If there is but a bare 
possibility of her coming up to our beau-ideal^ 
surely it ought to fill us with faith and hope 
and good works. We ought to do all in our 
power to emancipate and elevate her. 

" All these encomiums upon woman look well 
on paper; and I rejoice to believe you aie 
quite sincere ;" I seem to hear you say, " But," 


you immediately add, " it will be a long i'mie 
before woman will come up to what you call 
the Christian standard, and co-operate with the 
Divine Mind in all his plans." 

But now, my dear sister, is this the only ob- 
jection you have to bring against it^-that it 
must be the work of time ? Has this in reality, 
any thing to' do with the subject ? A long 
time ! How long, y^ray ? Do you say some 
hundreds of years ? And what then ? Sup- 
pose it were thousands, or tens of thousands ; 
does that lessen om' obligation? 

Some, I know, are not quite of Milton's opin- 
ion, that " they best serve God" — -on occasions, 
at least, — " who wait." They must have im- 
mediate and even large results, or their arms 
are palsied, and they are without hope. But 
others have more faith, and will labor, even 
when the day of reward is far in the distance. 
A few indeed will labor as hard for a distant 
reward as for one which is nearer. 

I feel no disposition, however, to make so 
large a demand of my fellow-creatures as the 
latter remark might seem to imply. It were 
expecting too much; as it seems to me, of hu- 


man nature. Nevertheless I have a right to 
demand that young women should labor, and 
labor hard even, for the emancipation and ele- 
vation of their sex. And the more distant this 
periodj and the less they expect to be able to 
accomplish, the greater the obligation to do 
what little they can. 

Every human being has his mission; — I 
mean under the Gospel. Young women have 
theirs. This mission is one of unspeakable im- 
portance to the race. Flint has not over-estima- 
ted it. He cannot. Nor has Solomon, in his 
writings. Nor could he. It is beyond human 
estimate or ken. 

For, hear me a moment on the subject. If 

you will do so, I am sure you will come to 

the same conclusion that I have. The thought 

has been ventured already, in some of my 

works — I have forgotten which — that the first 

female of our race has already been influential 

in forming the character of thousands of millions 

of human beings All who have descended from 

her have been more or less like her, and have 

partaken of her fallibility and frailty. But all 

who have descended from, or will descend from 


her, are her daughters. You, my sister, and 
every female besides you, are but other Eves. 
In the providence of God, you are destined — 
in all probability it is so — to have as wide an 
influence as Eve already has had. I do not 
say that your influence in the progress of the 
thousands of years that are to come, will be as 
wide at any given time, as hers will then be ; 
far otherwise. Hers will be extending all the 
while as well as yours. But I do say that the 
period will probably arrive, in time or in eter- 
nity — and it makes little difference which, so 
far as my present argument is concerned — 
when you and every young woman now on the 
stage of action, will have had as wide an influ- 
ence for good or foi evil, as Eve has already had. 
I have said /or good ox for evil — but wheth- 
er ;for good or for evil depends on your own 
choice. So God wills it, so you must under- 
stand it. God wills that you should will, rather 
than that you should decree. Young, the poet, 
says, and with a poet's license to be sure, but 
with a philosopher's correctness, 

"Heaven but peisuadeS; almighty man decrees." 


So does almighty woman. Woman as well as 

. " Man, is the maker of immortal fates ;" 

and woman as well as man falls by her own 
choice, if finally she falls. But neither man 
nor woman falls alone, as you have seen al- 
ready, and will see more distinctly by and by. 

Now this is a serious matter, and I once 
more bespeak for it your most earnest and 
serious consideration. Are you prepared to 
slide along life's current, like many of your sex, 
careless whether your influence be like that of 
Eve, or whether you become, under the Gos- 
pel plan, the progenitor of a new world? 

Perhaps my meaning, when I spoke of your 
having the Spirit of Jesus Christ, co-operating 
with him, &c., was but faintly apprehended — 
indeed I do not see how it could have been 
otherwise, so low are all human standards. 
The idea of being like Christ, when we come 
to make any specifications, and even when we 
do not, is mysticism to many, and rouses the 
skepticism, more or less, of all. And a few 
there are who regard it as a species of irrever- 
ence, if not something worse. 


You. however, know better than all this. 
You know that it requires a great deal of truth 
and holiness and purity, to apprehend truth and 
hohness and purity. Our Saviour is by most, 
but little understood. The highest and holiest 
and purest, whether of your sex or ours, are 
elevated only just enough to get a glimpse of 
him. The more we are elevated — that is the 
more like him we become, — the more we shall 
see of him and hi him. 

"Why, I have not a doubt that the time will 
come — it may be near at hand, God grant it 
may — when Avhat now seems to be the perfec- 
tion of Christ Jesus, will be attained, aye, and 
much more. I speak here, of course, with 
sole reference to what is imitable in his char- 
acter, or merely human. His character as an 
atoning sacrifice I leave out of the question. 
But in zeal and labor, and self-denial and pu- 
rity, and in the ordinar}^ duties of self-sacrifice, 
we see novf not a tithe of what we shall see in 
him hereafter, if we are but wise. We see 
nothing but what v/e ma^^ hereafter be able to 
imitate — nothing in fact but what we ought to 
be able to imitate at present. 


And it is our own fault, as I have already 
suggested, that we are not every thing which 
the Saviour now appears to us to be — with the 
above qualifications of expression. It is wo- 
man's fault — and man's — that she is not, by be- 
ing like him, co-operating with him at this mo- 
ment. It will be her fault if she does not be- 
come to the thousands of millions v\rho will 
probably succeed her, for good, all that Eve 
has been for evil to the thousands of millions 
who have already traversed our world, and 
lived, and died in it, and ascended from it. 

Perhaps you will call this preaching. But 
I am, as you know, no theologian, nor the son 
of any. I am a mere layman. I do not speak 
to you as a theologian ; no, nor merely as a 
Christian. Indeed, I do not much care 
whether you call it Christianity. "What I 
say is plain philosophy. Indeed, I know not 
that it deserves the large name of philosophy. 
I shall be satisfied if it deserve the name 
of sober sense. 

Woman's mission, then, is to co-operate with 
the Redeemer of men, in bringing back from 
its revolt, the same world which was lost by 


another species of co-operation on the part of 
Eve. This I say is woman's mission ; but if 
so, it is the mission of the young woman, as 
well as of the old. The young woman is but 
the old in miniature. The young Avoman, 
moreover, will soon be the old woman — much 
sooner, it may be, than she is aware. 

But how shall the young woman act, to 
fulfil this high mission? What are the par- 
ticular steps in which she is to tread ? What 
are the instruments by which she is to war a 
good warfare against depravity in its varied 
forms, and by which she is to substitute holi- 
ness in its stead 1 

Shall she mount the rostrum like Frances 
Wright, alias Frances Darusmont? Shall she 
tmii caviUing philosopher, like Mary Wool- 
stonecraft ? Shall she become a mere Hannah 
More, and attempt to fulfil her mission wholly 
at the point of her pen ? Or is there a more 
excellent way for her 1 

To answer, in a plain practical manner, 
these plain practical questions, and to point 
out, to the full extent of my power, the more 
excellent way in which a modern young wo- 


man is to fulfil her mission — a mission next 
to divine — will be the object of my future 
letters. God give you the docility — both of us 
the wisdom — so indispensably necessary to 
our mut^ial benefit. 



When a young woman distinctly understands 
what her mission is, her first duty is to enter 
into the spirit of it. A few directions in re- 
gard to imbibing and manifesting this spirit, 
will be the subject of the present letter. 

And first, in regard to imbibing the spirit 
of your mission. How shall it be done? 
Wisdom would reply, as she has done, in the 
volume of Solomon : " Whoso findeth me, 
findeth life." In other words, seek the spirit 
of thy mission in seeking me. Christianity 
would reply in nearly the same manner. And 
philosophy has an answer at hand of similai 

It were vain for me to attempt a wisei 
answer than these. Then be entreated te 

SPIRIT OP woman's mission. 29 

give yourself to reflection. Young women 
are not fond of reflection, as you well know. 
This, however, is the first thing. Consider 
thy ways, and be wise. Consider well what 
has been said in the preceding letter. Con- 
sider well the united voice of Christianity, 
Philosophy, and sound wisdom. 

Place yourself, as it were, at the feet of Jesus 
Christ. Take him as your example, your teach- 
er, your monitor, your lawmaker, your stand- 
ard. Study the divine record concerning him. 
Strive to discover his " manner of spirit," and 
compare your own with it. You will soon 
learn to value his spirit ; and while you value 
it, you will unawares imbibe it. 

In the next place, and if convinced that you 
ought to be like the Saviour, act according to 
yoiK convictions. Do what you know is right. 
In other words, be conscientious. It is in vain 
that God gave you a conscience — nay, worse 
than in vain, if you do not heed its warnings. 

If you find yourself prone to break 3^our dai- 
ly resolutions of amendment — if you find your 
own strength, owing to the force of long contin- 
ued bad habit, to be little more than weakness, 


Still be persuadedfto persevere. Make your re- 
solutions anew, and make them in the Divine 
strength — that is, relying on Divine aid. 

Nor should you give up, even if you break 
your first resolutions, made in God. Some say 
it is better not to make good resolutions than to 
make them and not perform them. But I have 
lived long enough to observe, that however true 
this remark may seem, those who have it most 
frequently in their mouths are the very persons 
who never resolve at all. And she will accom- 
plish little or nothing who never resolves. 

I grant, indeed, that it is bad to resolve and 
not keep our resolutions. We ought to keep 
them. Why should we not ? What hinders ? 
Still I maintain that it is best to resolve. We 
do not resolve with the intention of breaking 
our resolutions, nor need we. 

The question was put by one of our Sav- 
iour's followers — " How often shall my brother 
sin against me and I forgive him? Till seven 
times ?" And what was the answer ? "I say 
not unto thee, till seven times, but till seventy 
times seven." Or as some interpret it, as long 
as the offence is repeated. Shall a young wo- 


man be less charitable or forgiving towards 
others ? Shall she forgive those who sin against 
her to the 490th time, and shall she not forgive 
^lerself for sinning against herself to ihe fourth 7 

But the manifestations or evidences that the 
spirit of Christ is within us remain, you stili 
say, to be noticed. What are these evidences ? 
How is the spirit of reform — the new spirit — 
the spirit of Christ, made known to the world ? 
How is our light so to shine that others, seeing 
our good works, may be led back to God? 

Perhaps I might answer in the language of 
an ancient maxim, " Ye shall Imow them by 
their fruits." Or in language quite as ancient,' 
by ^Hhe love of our hrethrenP He that hath 
the spirit of Christ, brings forth fruit accord- 
ingly; and not only brings forth fruit, but 
much fruit. He loves his brother, too, even 
unto death. I shall say more of this hereafter. 

Let me point you to one result, one manifesta- 
tion of the spirit of Christ, which you may not 
have thought of; but which you may easily 
judge whether you possess. It is the love of 
moral and religious improvement in yourself 
and in others. It is in substance, what the 


Scriptures refer to when they speak of our hun- 
gering and thirsting after righteousness. 

I have spoken of conscientiousness, as being 
greatly important. Now you must not only be 
conscientious, but love to be so. Whatever is 
worth doing, is worth doing well ; carefully, .* 
conscientiously, rightly. There is no act of 2 
your lives so small but you should labor with T 
all your might, and resolve, and if necessary, * 
re-resolve concerning it. 

One man whom I know, a minister, who 
was deeply versed in human nature, as well 
as familiarly acquainted with his own heart, 
used to say, that among the most promising 
things, in man or woman, was a strong solici- 
tude to do and he right in every thing. 

But this being and doing right, with many, 
amounts to httle more than a desire, stronger or 
weaker, not to do wrong. Or if it rises a little 
higher and includes a little more — a small de- 
gree of love of doing right, for the sake of the 
right — it is only in very small measure. 

And if it rises occasionally to the point I 
have mentioned — a moderately strong desire of 
doing right, a positive love of virtue or excel- 


lence — ^it still falls short in this particular, that 
It does not, in striving to be and do right, come 
up to the highest gospel standard — that of de- 
siring, with all the heart, mind, soul, and 
strength, to be and do as right as possible. 

She who is fully imbued with the true Gos- 
pel spirit, not only labors and prays to have 
every thing — the smallest matter even — done 
right, but as right as possible. And if she fails 
of her resolution to do every thing in this 
manner, she mourns over her delinquency, and 
is in bitterness on account of it ; and resolves 
again. Indeed, she repeats her resolution and 
efforts, if need so require, to the thousandth 
or ten thousandth time. 

And then, if at any time she succeeds, and 
conscience approves of her course as having 
been the wisest and best which was possible 
under the circumstances, even this does not 
fully satisfy a nature not Avholly intended for 
the world. She is never ready to be stereotyped. 
She is never so perfect as to be willing to re- 
main stationary. The higher the ascent she 
climbs to-day, the greater her courage that she 
can climb a little higher to-morrow. 


No matter how trifling the action, I say again 
— no matter if it be but the putting on of a head- 
dress, the eating of a meal of victuals, or the 
getting of a lesson on the piano or at school. 
No matter if it be something which she has 
done a thousand times over, and which seems 
so trifling as hardly to possess any character 
at all, if such an action there could possibly be. 

I knew a teacher* many years ago, whose 
praise was all over the land, and had been so 
for a long period. There were lessons to be re- 
cited to him from day to day, which he had 
heard perhaps a hundred times. And yet he 
was known to afiirm, just at the close of 
life, that he never, if possible, heard tlie sim- 
plest and mxost familiar Jesson recited, without 
first studying it as faithfully, at least once over, 
as any of his pupils. 

Why all this carefulness to study a lesson 
already as familiar to him as the Alphabet or 
Multiplication Table? The professed reason — 
doubtless the — was that he wished to 
do his duty as a teacher better than before, 

* The late Joseph Emerson. 

SPIRIT OP woman's mission. 35 

'* And better thence again, and better still 
In infinite progression." 

This spirit of Joseph Emerson was the 
true spirit. It was the spirit of Christ. It is 
the spirit which I wish you to imbibe and to 
manifest. And one mode of manifesting it is 
that of which I am now speaking. I will say- 
even more : they who do not manifest this spirit 
are not Christ's true followers. They may 
have a name to live, but practically, they are 
either dead or asleep. 

There is a world whose inhabitants, from 
highest to loAvest, endeavor to perform each 
passing action a little better than ever before. 
These morning stars, in singing together for joy, 
though it be a song they have sung ten thou- 
sand times, endeavor to raise their notes a lit- 
tle higher, and make the harmony a little sweet- 
er at every repetition. 

The portals of this world of blest harmony, 
are to be entered, if entered at all, this side the 
grave. Heaven is not so much a place, as a 
state. It is a state of holiness. It is to come 
round again to the same point, the spirit of 
Christ. But neither heaven here, nor heaven 


there, can he heaven, without the constant de- 
sire and effort to do every thing better and bet- 
ter. Joseph Emerson was not much more truly 
in heaven — only more fully so — when having 
passed the bounds of time and space, he held 
a golden harp in his hand, than when he was 
conning over again a lesson in spelling or arith- 

It is vain to say, in reply to all this — and 
I hope you, my dear friend, will not attempt it 
— that there is a grade of human action so low, 
and so allied to mere instinct, as to have no 
moral character — no right or wrong about it. 
Paul, if not the Saviour, has taught a very differ- 
ent doctrine ; and you will, as I trust, hold no 
controversy with Paul. He says that what- 
ever we do — even our eating and drinking — 
should be done to the glory of God. Can that 
be destitute of moral character, which is to be 
done to God's glory ? 

I am not ignorant, that the human heart, 
sometimes even when partially sanctified, rises 
up against these views, and gravely, and sin- 
cerely too, asks whether, by teaching that small 
actions, — the tying of a cravat or a shoe for ex- 

SPIRIT OF woman's MISSION. 37 

ample — have moral character to them, I shall 
not disgust people, and defeat the very ends at 
which I aim. It is sufficient for me, however, 
that as high an authority as Paul, has settled 
the question. Shall I be wiser than Paul ? 

No, my dear friend, you have not taken the 
first step towards co-operating with Christ in 
attempting to save the world (and thus fulfill- 
ing your mission), till you have made it your 
fixed determination to do every thing which 
you do, at all times, a little better than ever you 
did it before. 

Examine yourself, then, not in any light 1 
may have thrown on the subject, so much as in 
the light of reason, and conscience, and common 
sense, and the Gospel. To all these, you hold 
yourself, under God, amenable. Examine your- 
self, I say, and remember, as you perform the 
duty, the awful fact, that if any have not the 
Spirit of Christ, they are none of his. 



I HAVE now gone through with preliminaries^ 
at which you will doubtless rejoice. I know 
full well how irksome this moralizmg — ^preach- 
ing, if you will have it so — ^is to the young ; 
especially to young women. Yet is it not, in 
its time and place, needful? 

Let me now take for granted that you are 
fully awake to the spirit of your mission. You 
are ready to say : " Here I am, Lord ; send me 
on any service of thine for which I am quali- 
fied, or can become so. Let me know, at least, 
the first step I ought to take, and I will gladly 
obey the divine mdication." 

Perhaps I ought to say that one of the first, 
if not the very first duty you have to perform, 


is to yourself — physically, socially, intellect- 
ually, and morally. In other words, it is to 
make yourself a specimen and pattern, in all 
these particulars, as perfect as possible. 

You have a body — fearfully and wonder- 
fully made. With this body, your mind is 
most curiously and even wonderfully con- 
nected. They have a powerful sympathy 
with each other. If .one suffers, the other suf- 
fers more or less with it ; and often in a cor- 
responding degree. If one enjoys — is in a 
healthful condition — the other enjoys also. 

A few have taught, as I am well aware, a 
very different doctrine. They have taught that 
ill health has a sanctifying influence. That by 
it mankind are prepared, in a most remarkable 
degree, for the enjoyments of the righteous. 

The mistake they have made consists in 
magnifying to a general rule, what is mani- 
festly a mere exception. The Father of the 
Universe, who " educes good from ill," every 
where (whenever that ill cannot, without doing 
violence to free agency, be avoided), and who 
causes even the wrath of man to praise him, 
has contrived to make sickness, when he can, 


prove a blessing. And yet, in five cases foi 
one, if not twenty-five to one, it hardens rather 
than softens the human heart. 

Health, in man or woman, as a general rule, 
is highly favorable. How can it be otherwise? 
How can that mind and spirit which are bound 
to a crippled bod^^ like the ancient Roman 
criminal to a putrid carcass, be otherwise than 
impeded in their upward flight ? 

And yet health, in any good degree, in 
either man or woman, is exceedingly rare. I 
grant that a considerable number are free from 
what is usually accounted real disease. They 
may not — probably do not — undergo pain. 
They may not actually sufier, at this moment, 
from fever, inflammation, pleurisy, rheuma- 
tism, gout, apoplexy, consumption, small-pox, 
or cholera. And if these last and their kin- 
dred were the only unhealthy conditions of 
mankind, we might, at almost any given mo- 
ment, speak of disease as the exception, rather 
than the general rule. 

The fact is, that a large proportion of our 
children and youth — of the whole race, 1 
mean — come into the world with disease for 


an inheritance. One-fourth of each genera- 
tion, in this part of the United States at the 
least, inherit a tendency to scrofula or con- 
sumption. And more than another fourth in- 
herit a tendency to other diseases which could 
be mentioned. 

Then again, a diseased condition of the sys- 
tem is acquired^ as well as inherited. Thus 
many who are born comparatively healthy, 
become liable to fever, consumption, bowel 
complaint, eruptive disease, sore throat, ifec. 
For even catarrh, or cold as it is usually called, 
is a disease ; and, as a diseased habit, is often 
wholly acquired. 

From these two sources it comes to pass 
that a large majority of our young women, 
from twelve to twenty-five years of age, are 
already the subjects of disease, and need reme- 
dial directions, rather than preventive. My 
limits do not permit of either, to any consider- 
able extent. A few brief directions only will 
be given, and those will relate to prevention. 

In the first place, however, allow me to im- 
press on yom mind the idea that God in his 
Providence has, in a general sense, placed 


your health in your own power. I do not 
mean that this remark is true without quahfi- 
cation or Hmit ; but only that it is as true, as 
it is that your intellectual and moral character 
kre put in your own power. As surely as you 
can be wise, or good, just so truly can you be 

Do you say, almost with impatience : "But 
have you not, of yourself, already asserted 
that a large proportion of our race mherit dis- 
ease ? How then is it true, that our health 
depends upon our own efforts, as your re- 
marks seem to imply? Is there not contra- 
diction in all this ?" 

The question, though hasty, is yet pertinent. 
But the answer is easy. We do not hesitate 
to speak of our moral character, as within our 
own power. God did not make us mere ma- 
chines. So of our intellectual capabihty. Our 
knowledge is made dependent, as- a general 
rule, on our own exertion. And yet some of 
us inherit bad tempers, bad passions, and fee- 
ble faculties — not to say, here and there, down- 
right perversion and idioc}^ The common 
doctrine, that our virtue and our knov.dedge 


are Vithin our own power, is just as much in 
contradiction to the law of moral and intel- 
lectual inheritance, as the law I have an- 
nounced is in regard to physical matters. 

Indeed, if we look this whole subject 
through, we shall find that health, knowledge, 
and moral excellence, are all comparative. 
Some are healthier, others less so ; some are 
wiser, some less wise ; some more moral, and 
some less so. It is thus, in regard to in- 
heritance — it is the same thing in regard to 
acquirement. And it is so again, in regard to 
vartue or moral excellence. The latter is easy 
to some, difficult to others. 

I dwell the longer on this point, plain and 
simple as it seems to many, because to others 
it may appear to be a strange doctrine ; and I 
wish to show them just how it is. It makes 
a very .different impression to say, in a general 
way, that God has placed our health in our 
own power, from what it does when we say, 
that mankind ought not to be sick. People 
will assent to a great many doctrines and rules 
"^hen we do not apply them. 

I "vyish you to do more than merely to assent 


to the broad statement that our health is, as a 
general rule, at our own disposal. 1 wish you 
to make an application of the principle to your 
own circumstances, and to those of others, 
around you. 

You inherit a scrofulous tendency. This 
was not indeed discoverable at first ; and pio- 
bably for the first year or two years of life, you 
were regarded as unusually healthy; you 
were fleshy, as I suppose, and had red cheeks. 
But subsequent experience showed that your 
physical endowments were not so very ample, 
after all. You were nervous, irritable, irregu- 
lar in your appetite, subject to colds, &c. In 
other words, to repeat the statement, you had 
a scrofulous constitution. 

Now this constitution it is which has given 
you so much trouble, all your lifetime, to this 
hour. You have been susceptible of disease 
of almost every kind, and liable to continual 
derangement, bodily or mental. And you 
still suffer, both in body and mind. 

Now, this condition and lot is susceptible 
of much alleviation and improvement. You 
may not be able, it is true, to accomplish all 


jfou may desire. You may not — ^probably 
will not — be able to eradicate wholly the dis- 
ease. There will be a tendency to scrofulous 
affections, as long as you live. 

Still you may do much, I again, say, to make 
your condition tolerable. You may even di- 
minish the scrofulous tendency. You may, 
in the course of any ten years, especially the 
next ten, add fifteen or twenty per cent, to 
your general vigor. And the more you do, 
in this way, the more you can do. 

You are apt to be discouraged, because 1 
assure you that the work of improvement must 
be slow. I know well the tendency to dis- 
couragement, and the danger of giving all up 
as hopeless. The destruction of the poor is 
their poverty, says Solomon ; and in like man- 
ner the destruction of the poor is their poverty 
in regard to health. It is with them as it is 
with the business man of small capital, his 
earnings must be in the same proportion, that 
is, very small ; whereas they who have a large 
capital can, with the same amount of effort, 
secure much larger gains. 


Remember one thing, by way of encourage- 
ment, that yom' gain will be greater, from 
the same amount of eifort, than that of many 
of your female friends and acquaintance.. The 
reason is, they have less capital than you. I 
luiow how ready you are to think you are 
worse off with scrofula, than you would be 
with any other chronic disease. But it is not 
so. The dyspeptic, and even the consumptive 
person, are still worse off. I do not speak here 
Avith regard to the duration of life ; for I do 
not know but the consumptive person, and still 
more the dyspeptic, may last as long as you. 
What I say, refers chiefly to your power to in- 
vigorate your constitution, and thus to enjoy 
your life while you do live. 

You will understand by this time one great 
principle, which I trust I have more than indi- 
cated by the foregoing remarks, viz., that the 
more health you have — the more, I mean of 
constitutional vigor — the more you can get. 
The feeblest of your neighbors, the mOst mi- 
serable dyspeptic you know, can do a little 
for herself; and so may she who is far gone 
in the worst forms of consumption. Indeed, 



no person is so feeble, even with fevers, pleu- 
risies, or other acute diseases, as not to be able, 
by rigid obedience to the laws of God and man, 
— especially the former — to gain something 
temporarily, if not permanently. 

You will observe, of course, that I do not 
say that the consumptive person, and every 
body else, will get well, if they obey : with this 
1 have nothing to do ; of this I know nothing. 
I know not how long people have transgressed, 
nor how grievously. All I affirm is, that they 
may improve their condition. The feeblest, I 
say, can do something ; and what they can do, 
it is highly indispensable they should do. The 
strongest and most healthy can do the most for 
themselves, however. 

For, need I say again, that it is with this 
matter of health, as with knowledge, morality, 
(fee, that while none are sunk so low in ignor- 
ance, depravity, or disease, as not to be able to 
do something for themselves, none are so ele- 
vated in knowledge, goodness, and health, as 
not to be able to make farther advances ? And 
still more, that the less they have of any of 
these, the more difficult is it to ^^' 



cessions ; and the more they have, the more 
they can increase their capital or stock ? 

I will not say, of course, that the comparison 
I have here made of health with knowledge 
and vhtue, will hold in every particular ; but 
certam I am of one thing, that it will hold as 
far as I have chosen, in this letter, to carry it. 
The more health we have, the more we can 
get, is a rule to which we know, as yet, of no 

One or two inferences should be made from 
all this. If God has put your health in your 
power, then is it not your duty to attend to it ? 
If the more health you have, the more, as a 
general rule^ you can get, have you a right to 
excuse yourself and say, "All these instructions 
about health may answer for the feeble and 
sickly ; but I have nothing to do with them ?" 

Have you not, on the contrary, much more 
to do with them than the feeble and the sick- 
ly ? Grant that they are inexcusable, if they 
neglect themselves : are you not more so ? Is 
it not a scriptural, aye, and a common sense 
rule— ^To whom much is given, of the same 
shall much be required ? 



But if you are morally bound to attend to 
bodily health, whatever may be your present 
condition, and however great your present pos- 
sessions, in this particular, are you not morally 
culpable for neglect ? Are you not, at least, 
blameworthy, if you do not act up to the dig- 
nity of your present convictions of what is 
physically right ? 

Do not startle at the idea of blame for being 
sick. -What if the thought is new ? What if 
it seems strange ? Do its novelty and singu- 
larity make it the less true or less important 7 
If it is a just and necessary conclusion from just 
and necessary premises, then why startle at it 7 
Why not receive it, and make it a law to your 
conscience ? Why not obey it also, and enjoy 
the blessed consequences ? 

In any event, I hope you will no ^longer hes- 
itate to make yourself acquainted with the laws 
of your physical frame. By this I do not mean, 
of course, that it is needful for you to study 
Anatomy and Physiology with the same ear- 
nestness, and to the same extent, which is ne- 
cessary for the physician and surgeon. All 
young women are not called to practise medi- 


cine, like MissBlackwell. But a general know- 
ledge of this subject is certainly useful, and if 
you would fulfil" your mission, in the best pos- 
sible manner, quite indispensable. 

There is, however, a range of study, which 
comes short of this ; and yet answers, very 
well, the purposes of young women. It is what 
the French call Hygiene — and for lyhich we 
have no English name, in any one word. It 
is a proper consideration of the laws of rela- 
tion. Anatomy teaches structure, physiology, 
laws ; but Hygiene, relations. Thus man is 
related to air, temperature, food, drink, and 
clothing ; and, by means of bones and muscles, 
to the earth we tread on, &c. ; and this rela- 
tion involves certain conditions or laws of rela- 

In pursuing this study, it will indeed be ne- 
cessary to appeal to the laws of Anatomy and 
Physiology, and consequently to explain them 
occasionally. But it is not necessary, in the 
study of Hygiene, by young women, to begin 
with Anatomy and Physiology, any more than 
it is necessary to commit to memory a long 


catalogue of dry Grammar or Arithmetic rules, 
before we proceed to parsing or ciphering. 

This study of Hygiene, I recommend to you 
most earnestly, not so much because it is be- 
coming fashionable, as becaase it is for your 
life — the life of the body and tne life of the 
soul. I cannot indeed dwell on it, in this 
volume ; the subject must De reservea for a 
future series of letters, or nercnance lor a vol- 
ume by itself. I may indeed m mv next two 
or three letters, just allude to ii. 



Closely connected with the subject of health 
is that of amusements ; nor is it much less im- 
portant. Few things demand more tne seriouis 
attention of those who have the charge ol tne 
young of both sexes, at the present time — le 
males no less than males — than the manner in 
which they are to amuse themselves. It is of 
course a subject of importance. 

For amusement you must have, of some sort 
or other. Your opening nature, bodily and 
mental, demands it. You need it as much as 
the kitten or the lamb. It has been a max- 
im, " all work and no play makes Jack a dull 
boy." So would all study, as well as all work. 
So would all any thing. You cannot be de- 
prived of your amusements, but at your peril. 


Even at your own age, all this Is literally 

I speak with the more freedom, in regard to 
amusements for the young, because there is the 
beginning of an awakening of the pubUc con- 
science, which has so long slumbered, on this 
great subject. Good people, as well as others, 
are beginning to see that they have been guilty 
of a neglect, whose consequences ha,ve often 
pierced them through with many sorrows. 

What, then, are some of the forms in which 
the young, especially those of more advanced 
years, like yourself, should amuse themselves ? 

Several things should be kept in view, in re- 
lation to this matter. Your amusements should 
be of such a nature as is compatible with health 
of body and mind. They should be such as 
afford exercise to those organs and faculties 
which are not otherwise called into sufficient 
activity. They should be such as are relished. 
They should have a good social and moral 

It happens, by the way, that amusements 

which are peculiarly healthy to one person, are 

often less so to another. This fact may be 



owing to temperament, mode of employment, 
inherited or acqmred tendencies to disease, (fee. 
While, therefore, in all our directions we should 
keep in view th'e laws of health, we must by- 
no means forget the varying circumstances of 
the individual. 

Your tempejrament — nervous and sanguine, 
but not highly active — ^requires active exercise. 
You pm'sue household employments, in part, 
and these are highly favorable. Thus far con- 
sidered, you would not seem to demand very 
active amusements. But then, again, you do 
not highly relish your housework, while you are 
excessively fond of your garden, your walks, 
your pony and your carriage. 

On the whole, you find yourself most bene- 
fited by amusements in the open air. You 
would not be profited so much by the dance, 
even if you could relish it, and could be made 
to believe it had a good moral tendency. 

Your fondness for your garden, is very 
highly favorable. Continue that fondness. 
Your flowers, your vines, your fruit-trees, will 
all of them minister to your amusement. 
Whether watering, budding, pruning, hoeing. 


or collecting the products of your labor, you 
win still be amused, and both mind and body 
be greatly improved. 

But this is not enough — it does not go far 
enough. You need something more active, as 
jumping, running, and the like. I will tell you 
what will be about the right amusement for 
i^ou, beyond the garden and field. An occa- 
sional ramble with a friend or with a small 
party, in pursuit of rare flowers, plants, miner- 
als, insects, or birds. And should you, in 
your zeal, so far compromise your dignity, as 
to forget the staid snail-like pace to which, ever 
since you entered your teens, society has en- 
deavored to constrain you, as to walk a little 
more rapidly, or even rxm, and clap your hands, 
and shout Eureka^ do not think you have com- 
mitted the sin unpardonable in Heaven's court ; 
or that even the tribunal of your company will 
condemn you. You have your trial before a 
jury of the " sovereign peopZe" — though it may 
not always be exactly twelve in number ; be, 
therefore, of good courage. 

Walking to do good — when your feelings are 
so much absorbed as to make you forget to 


measure your pace — is one of the best amuse- 
ments of body and mind you can possibly have ; 
next, I mean, to those which have been just 
now mentioned. But mere walking, that is, 
walking for the sake of walking, is worth very 
little to you or any body else. 

Exercise on horseback comes next. As you 
are fond of this, and as you require the open 
air, it is highly proper. Those, however, who 
incline either to pulmonary or bilious com- 
plaints, will, as a general rule, reap more im- 
mediate, solid advantages from it than you will. 

I need not add to these hints. I need not 
interdict balls, assemblies, parties late at night, 
nor even a too frequent attendance on the 
lecture or the scientific experiments. Still 
less need is there that I should refer to the 
dance. Your own good sense and former hab- 
its are sure to decide right here. 

Your neighbor Cynthia, with her bilious 
temperament and sluggish mental characteris- 
tics, requires amusements of a somewhat differ- 
ent character. Not indeed less active, but much 
more so. She needs the free air also as much 
as yourself. And then her employment, being 


of a sedentary kind, demands it still more 
loudly. Her lower limbs require walking, run- 
ning or dancing. I do not mean dancing late 
at night, in convivial parties, for that would be 
more injurious to her than to you,; and as 
dangerous to mind and morals as to bodily 

She also needs society in her amusements 
more than you. In most instances you would 
do very well alone ; but she does not relish 
solitary activity, and it would consequently be 
less beneficial to her than to yourself. 

Then again, while you would be greatly 
benefited by the shower bath, and by swim- 
ming, partly for the amusement, she would 
ba better served by the warm bath. Her skin 
is cold and inactive ; yours acts very irregu- 
larly. Hers is strong enough, if it were set 
agoing ; yours is thin and feeble. 

You would find light reading an amusement, 
not indeed late at night, or in bed, or when 
greatly fatigued in body, but when fresh and 
vigorous, and lively and happy. She, on the 
contrary, would find reading irksome at all 
times, and would hardly be benefited by it. 


Conversation on the contrary is the best thing 
for her. 

And thus it would be, through the whole 
circle of your acquaintance, were these real 
wants corusidered. One would require this ex- 
ercise, another that. One would require this 
combination of exercise, another a different one. 
But then all, as a general rule, demand pure 
ah, a cheerful mind, and a warm heart. All 
require their undivided energies for the time. 
You must not be half interested in them, but 
wholly so. 

But I do not expect to give you a whole 
volume on amusements in the compass of . a 
single letter. All I can reasonably hope to do 
is to establish in your mind a fcAV correct 
principles, and then leave the application of 
these principles to your own good common 
sense. Happy will it be for you, and for all 
concerned with, or dependent on you, if you 
make the application wisely and judiciously. 

One difficulty in relation to this matter, has 
been alluded to in connection with another 
subject. Young women are unwilling to think. 
Some are more averse to thinking than your- 


self. But all, or almost all, are faulty in this 
particular ; and hence the importance of being 
frequently and earnestly admonished. 

Is it necessary to remind you, that there is 
danger of amusing yourself too much ? It would 
not be necessary to remind your bilious neigh- 
bor of it ; she will never give up time enough 
to her amusements. Her great, I might al- 
most say morbid or diseased conscientiousness, 
would forbid it, if nothing else should. With 
regard to yourself, deep principle might be op- 
erative to restrain you ; but not an over-active 
or high-wrought conscientiousness, except in 
case of diseased nerves and brain. And yet, 
though I am compelled to remind you that 
there is such a thing in the world as morbid 
conscientiousness, it is exceedingly rare. Most 
persons have too little rather than too much of 
this commodity. It is a fault of the age, so it 
seems to me, to ask. What will people say, 
rather than. What is right ? or, "What does God 

Few among us come up to the requisition of 
the inspired penman. This is true, even in re- 
gard to the most sacred things ; how much more 


SO, in regard to the common every-day concerns 
of life ! How few among us labor from day to 
day, from hour to hour, from moment to mo- 
ment, to do all to the glory of God ! 



Many things which belong to the subject of 
employments were anticipated by my last let- 
ter. It iSj indeed, difficult to draw a line of 
demarkation between employments and amuse- 
ments. They blend with and run into each 
other. Emplopnents sometimes become amuse- 
ments ; and amusements, too often, partake of 
the nature of sober employments. 

The word employment, indeed, in a very 
general sense, includes every thing which in- 
telligent creatures can do. But there is a more 
particular sense, in which we frequently use 
it, viz., to designate or distinguish those avoca- 
tions, or duties, or exercises, in which we ha- 
bitually engage, in order to obtain our reputa- 
tion or our liveUhood. 


God has kindly made it necessary for mankind 
to labor, in order that they may eat and drink. 
That which many regard as a curse, is thus con- 
verted into a blessing. It is a blessing, because 
it prevents idleness, and its long train of dan- 
gers. It is a blessing, because it conduces to 
health ; and this, in a thousand ways. 

You are one of those who labor for a sup- 
port, and who consequently, if you labor right, 
receive the blessings which are annexed. By 
means of this labor, you have escaped a thou- 
sand temptations and a thousand dangers. 
You have escaped also many diseases to which 
you would otherwise have been subjected, as 
well as much suffering which would have 
fallen to your lot, had not the diseases with 
which you have already been afflicted been 
greatly mitigated in regard to their severity, 
by your habits of exercise in the house and in 
the garden. 

Some young women have been less fortu- 
nate. Their employments have been assigned 
to them by parents who did not understand 
their temperaments, or their tendencies to dis- 
ease. Perhaps they ought to have been house- 


keepers ; but they have been made milhners 
or seamstresses. Their temperaments and dis- 
eased constitutions required active exercise, 
and free space ; but they have been deprived 
of both. 

Others, predisposed to scrofula or consump- 
iion, to whom active exercise, in the open air, 
is more necessary, if possible, than to any other 
class, are plunged into the factory. There, in 
a vitiated, overheated atmosphere, they spend 
twelve, fourteen, or sixteen hours of each day, 
and hardly breathe a better atmosphere when 
they return to their boarding-houses, and retire 
to their sleeping-rooms. 

Here again, you have been peculiarly fortu- 
nate. Had you been consigned, at ten, twelve, 
or fourteen years of age, to the hot, murky, 
foul air of the tailor's shop, or the factory, or 
what is but little better, the confined and often 
very impure air of a millinery, you would 
probably have been laid in your grave seven 
or eight years ago. Or had you survived, your 
life would have been of little value to your- 
self, or to those around you. 

And yet your constitution is as well fitted 


for sedentary employments as himdreds an/ 
thousands, who are trained to them. But ob- 
serve, if you please, that not all who are trained 
to an employment pursue it as a means of 
earning a livelihood. Not a few fall into other 
business, at least if they do not cripple them- 
selves so as to be unfitted for any other. 

That a few die, as the result of a wrong 
choice of occupation by the parent, (for it is on 
parents and masters that the blame must, after 
all, principally fall,) though a great evil, is an 
evil not half so great as another which I could 
name — and which, indeed, I must advert to 
briefly, in order to complete my plan. 

I refer to the deterioration of the race, to 
which we belong. Now it is alike a doctrine 
of scriptm-e and reason, that none of us live 
or die to ourselves. Indeed, such is the struc- 
ture of society, that we cannot do so, if we 

Suppose a young woman goes into a factory 
as well ©rdered as those of Lowell. Suppose 
that by virtue of a good constitution, she does 
not actually become sick. Suppose she is even 
able to remain six, or eight, or ten years. 


^ Will any one say that because she does not 
Wdie at the factory, or does not come out of it 
^ crippled for life, therefore no great mischief is 
done ? Has the question ever yet been settled, 
which is the greatest actual loss to society, one 
person killed outright — or ten, or twenty, or 
forty injured ; some of them greatly injured, 
for the rest of their lives ? 

And as the whole tendency of the whole 
thing is and must be downward — that is, to 
the deterioration of successive generations — ^has 
it ever been ascertained how much more one 
life is worth in the present generation, than 
one in the next, or the third ? To explain a 
little. Suppose a course to be taken in life, 
with regard to employment, which, while it 
permits the individual to linger out half her 
days or more amid many ills, yet with entire 
certainty entails on offspring the possibility — • 
aye, the necessity — of dying prematurely, and 
of being good for nothing, except by being a 
burden to try the patience, and faith, and love, 
of others. Is it settled that such a course is 
right ? 

As the cultivation of our mother earth, in 


a rational manner, is, after all, the most honor- 
able and most useful employment for our sex, ^ 
so the kindred occupation of taking care of the ^ 
house, and feeding the bodies, minds, and 
hearts of its occupants, is the noblest employ- 
ment — the blessed prerogative, may I not call 
it — of your own. 

Other occupations indeed there must be, and 
to some of them, in the good providence Of 
God, you might have been — may yet be, even 
now — called. But, do not choose them. Submit, 
if you must ; nothing more. So of others. They 
may, in some instances, go to the factory or to 
sedentary employments, with more of safety to 
their constitutions and to their progeny than 
you ; but they, even, will be still better off to 
do housework. 

But whatever may be your choice or your 
destiny, let it be pursued in the fear of God, 
and in due obedience to all his laws, physical 
and moral, as much as may be. If you can- 
not do all you would desire, you can at least 
do all in your power. God is not a hard mas- 
ter; he only requires of you what he has 


given you capacity and opportunity to perform. 
And never forget, that 

" Who does the best her circumstance allows 
Does well ; acts nobly ; angels could no more." 

One thing of high importance has been more 
than hinted at, in my last letter. No employ- 
ment, not even housekeeping, is so healthy as 
to excuse you from the necessity of spending 
several hours of each day in your garden. T 
was going to make an exception to this rule, 
on account of unfavorable weather, but if you 
accustom yourself to all sorts of weather there 
are very few days of spring, summer or autumn, 
in which you cannot labor more or less in the 
open air. 

Whatever you do, moreover, do it with all 
your mighit. It is an old saying, that " What- 
ever is worth doing, is worth doing well ;"' to 
which might be added another, viz., "Whatever 
is worth doing at all, is worth doing with all 
your might." I do not mean with violence, but 
with great earnestness. I cannot help respect- ' 
ing the individual who throws his whole soul^ 


as it were, into all lawful employmentSj associ- 
ations and amusements, be they ever so trivial. 
Finally, in making up your mind, in regard 
to an employment for life — if indeed your life 
is not already decided for you — do not ask, I 
say once more. What will people say? At 
least, if you ask this question at all, let it by 
all means be an afterthought. It is of far less 
consequence what others think of yoUj than it 
is what God and your own conscien('°. think of 
you. The good opmion of others, I grant, is 
not to be despised ; but it is of less consequence 
than some young women imagme. 



Among the items of duty to herself, to which 
the attention of a young woman should be 
called, as a means of forming her character, as 
a missionary, is the pursuit of appropriate 
studies. Do you say that your study days are 
over ? They are never over while life contin- 
ues. They are never over while you are sus- 
ceptible of the smallest degree of improvement. 
In truth, the business of the schools, you 
have attended, was not so much to study, as 
to learn how to study — to obtain the keys of 
knowledge, rather than to milock her treasures. 
Some present reward — some grains of gold — 
there indeed is ; but the reward, or treasure, is 
chiefly in reserve for riper years. 

I was once associated with three other indi- 


viduals, in conducting as many divisions of a 
large Bible class. Many of our pupils were as 
old as ourselves — men and women of large and 
liberal education. In this case we were obliged 
to study as teachers, and to study hard ; and 
the Rev. Dr. Anderson, who was one of the 
four teachers, advised that we should make 
our reading, during the whole week^ to bear 
upon the subjects of our lesson. 

The suggestion was deemed worthy of our 
attention, and was, to some extent, heeded. 
Would that it had been more closely attended 
to on my own part than it was. And you, 
who are a Sabbath school teacher, may profit 
from the same suggestion. For if we, who 
were already in the middle of life , or beyond 
it, were required to study, surely you are. 

But suppose you had nothing to do with the 
Sabbath school. You are a teacher in the pub- 
lic schools. Will not Dr. A.'s suggestion still 
apply? In truth I know of no occupation — I 
certainly never followed one^ — ^which requires 
harder study than common or public school- 

Some there are, I well know, who tell us 


that in conducting small elementary schools, 
or indeed our larger town schools, little know- 
ledge is required, beyond what is usually ob- 
tained beforehand, in the progress of our own 
attendance on the same class of schools. They 
tell us that if a teacher loves her school, has a 
tact at communicating knowledge, and has a 
thorough acquaintance with the branches she 
teaches, such as reading, spelling, defining, 
writing, grammar, geography, history, physiol- 
ogy, &c., nothing more is necessary. 

But granting all this, is there nothing for her 
to do, in the way of study, who has "passed a 
good examination," as it is called, and is fairly 
seated in the pedagogic chair? Is she so well 
skilled in all the branches I have meiftioned of 
a good English education, as to be already per- 
fect? If so, she is quite different from any 
thing which, as a teacher or committee man, I 
have ever yet met with. The best teachers I 
have ever known have found themselves profit- 
ed, at least for a few terms, at the first, in hard 
study even of these common branches. 

Besides, it is not true that we are not benefit- 
ed in our profession, by studying those sciences 


we are not required to teach. For such is the 
connection and dependence of the whole circle 
of human science, that every thing aids in the 
understanding of every thmg else. Other 
things being equal, one who has studied moral 
philosophy or even divinity, would teach school 
better than one who was wholly ignorant of all 
such subjects. 

Again, if there were nothing else to study, 
while teaching, you might study the art or 
science of teaching, as well as that of disciplin- 
ing. We have books now, (though there weje 
none twenty-five years ago,) which, along with 
our own reflection, will greatly aid us in this 
important work. I need not enumerate them — 
it is suflicient to remind 3^ou of the fact. 

My story of Mr. Emerson would be in place 
here ; but I have given it in my second letter, 
and need not repeat it. Let it be, however, 
distinctly understood that every day should find 
you better qualified for your highly responsible 
station than ever before ; and that consequently 
every day requires fresh eflbrt, and fresh study. 

Perhaps you will say, " But there is a possi- 
bility that I may not teach much longer, and 


therefore it is hardly worth while to waste time 
on that which after the present season, or at 
least another term or two, will be of no service 
to me." 

This objection assumes for truth one mani- 
fcst error. If the great work of woman is, under 
God, the education of her household, then every 
possible preparation which she can make as a 
teacher, Avili be almost as good a preparation 
for the discharge of her duties in the family ; 
especially all which relates to the art of disci- 

Besides, you must never forget, that if you 
would come up to the spirit of your mission, 
you must not only strive to do whatever you 
are doing in the best possible manner, but also 
to improve upon yourself from day to day — to 
excel yourself, as some choose to call it. 

I know not but I have dwelt too long on this 
subject of study in reference to school-keeping, 
because this, though an important vocation, is 
but one among many to which young women 
in our day are called. But I will return to our 

Housekeeping, as a science — and such it de- 


serves to be regarded — requires as much study, 
for aught I know, as the science of teaching. 
That it has not been studied by most, is cheer- 
fully admitted ; but is it a sufficient reason 
why a thing should never he, to say that it 
has never yet been 7 

What housekeeper is there among us, worthy 
of the name of housekeeper, who would not be 
far better fitted for her vocation by studying 
Physiology and Chemistry, especially the lat- 
ter ? For my own part, I see not how a Chris- 
tian woman of but common intelligence, should 
dare, in our own time, at least, to make a loaf 
of bread without a thorough knowledge of Che- 
mistry — ^I mean, provided she makes it in the 
existing fashion. 

In order, moreover, to exert a proper influ- 
ence over others, the study of mental philoso- 
phy seems to me necessary. . For since your 
sex is to rule the world, as Mr. Flint expresses 
it, you ought to be qualified to rule it in right- 
eousness. You ought to understand well the 
constitutional structure of your subjects. You 
ought to understand their minds and your own, 
no less than your and their bodies. Moral 


philosophy I have ah'eady incidentally recom- 

I do not believe it to be necessary that you 
should dive into all the intricacies of philosophy, 
mental or moral. It is a practical psycholo- 
gist, I would make you, rather than a theo- 
retical one. In truth, it is practical life — the 
formation of every-day character — at which I 
would aim throughout. 

Great importance, in these days, is attached 
to the study of the French, and Italian, and 
Spanish, and Latin languages. Now I have 
no objection to the study of the languages, 
living or dead, by both sexes, if they have timie 
for it. But have they ? Is life long enough 
to enable those who are obliged — and who 
ought — to sustain themselves by their own ex- 
ertions, to study every thing which might be 
desirable, and at the same time, be thorough 
in it ? 

Let me say here, once for all, that in what- 
ever you undertake, you should be thorough. 
That is, as far as you go, be sure to go right, 
i have said that at the first you are merely 
getting hold of the keys of knowledge ; but 



then you must be very sure of the keys, or yon 
will make but miserable work in subsequent 

The mathematics I believe to be of more 
real importance to you, as a means of strength- 
ening your mental faculties, than the lan- 
guages. This matter may be carried too far, 
in some of our schools ; but it is not generally 
so. I think very highly, in females, of a turn 
for the study of the exact sciences. 

Still I admit we can have much of the dis- 
cipline which the study of the mathematics 
Thrill secure, by a due attention to natural sci- 
ence. I may have said enough already of 
Physiology, and perhaps of Chemistry. And 
yet I am not quite sure of this. Chemistryj 
for both sexes, if studied in a proper spirit and 
manner, is one of the noblest and most practi- 
cal of the sciences. 

Closely allied to Chemistry are Botany, Min- 
eralogy, Geology, &c. Now I have not a taste 
for these sciences, and shall not therefore be 
likely to exalt them unduly. Yet I am free 
to say that I consider them secondary to but 
two subjects — Chemistry and Natural History. 


otany I am sure is of vast importance ; Ge- 
.ogy I think must be. 

I have incidentally spoken in praise of Natu- 
il History. The natural history of man is first 
a order, and first in point of importance. And 
^et, while we have a score or two of Natural 
listories of the animals below man — all good, 
md deserving of the eclat they have received 
—we have not a single work on the Natural 
History of our own species, which is worth 
your perusal. 

Such a work, for the young, is yet a desid- 
eratum — but I trust will not long remain so. 
The ingenuity as well as enterprise of the age, 
will surely bring to the market, mtellectually, 
that for which there is a demand. And it can- 
not be that a thinking people — a people, at 
least, who study Hygiene — will long defer to 
demand such a work. 



It is an old maxim, in reference to the high 
tone of female character, that " Caesar's wife 
should not even be suspected." But there 
would be less occasion for the application of 
the maxim to Caesar's wife, if the daughter 
were what she should be in the outset. As is 
the daughter, for a general rule, to which no 
doubt there may be exceptions, so is the wife 
and the mother. 

You will wonder, perhaps, what I can have 
to say to young women about their morals. 
Are they not already irreproachable in New 
England, and indeed all over our Union ? Is 
there a spot, in the wide world, where female 
education has been so successful in establish- 


iiig a high standard of female virtue and gen- 
eral character? 

Most certainly there is not. I know well to 
whom I speak. "Were I addressing the young 
women of central Asia, or even of central Eu- 
rope, I should address them without hope. 
Except a favored few, they would not have 
virtue and purity enough to understand me, 
when I speak on such subjects. As it requires 
a good degree of knowledge to enable us to set 
a just value on knowledge, so it requires a good 
deal of virtue and morality to enable us to prize 
virtue and morality, and to seek for them as 
for hid treasures. 

Remember then — I repeat the sentiment— 
that you do not live in the dark ages, nor in yet 
more darkened regions of the earth. You live 
in the nineteenth century^ and are to aid in 
forming character for the twentieth. You do not 
live in the heart of Africa or South America, or 
in the backwoods of America. Your lot is more 
favorably cast. You are exalted to heaven, 
as it were, in point of privileges. 

Let your character, then, correspond to the 
high station you are to occupy. Fill your 


minds with the great idea that you are to co- 
operate with Christ in the noble work of human 
redemption. In tliis particular 3^ou can hardly 
have your views too exalted. You are not only 
to co-operate with, but to represent, or as some 
theologians say, reproduce the Saviour in your 
own heart, and in the hearts of others. 

Of course I do not forget that I have already, 
in one or two instances, directed your attention 
to this great subject. But you will excuse me, 
I know, for referring to it again. It is, to me, 
when I think of the true position of woman in 
society, a most delightful theme. It would be 
so, were I to speak of it as a mere matter of 

But I do not refer to it as a matter of mere 
philosophy, at least of human philosophy. It 
is indeed philosophy, but it is Christian philo- 
sophy. It has been baptized. The great idea 
of Paul — " Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, 
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus ;" in other 
words,- " In your whole character, be Christ's 
true representatives" — could never have had 
any other than a divine origin. 

Do not be afraid of either philosophy or 


Christianity, if you would accomiolish your 
mission. Tliey both come from the skies. 
They are both for you. They are for woman. 
They are for young women. They are for 
woman, moreover, in every condition of home 
society — educated or uneducated. It does not 
require a deep knowledge of the sciences to 
read of Jesus, and learn of him, and know 
how to imitate him. 

I have no special objection to your studying 
Chesterfield. As you may obtain nourishment 
to the body from almost every kind of food, so 
your immortal part may find somewhat to aid 
its progress and growth in the driest and most 
unchristian volumes on character. I have not a 
doubt you might gain something in spiritual 
growth, by reading the works of Confucius, 
Gaudama, and Zoroaster. 

Did I say I had no objection to your study- 
ing Chesterfield? I mean not so much. It 
would be a waste of time, if no more. The 
old vulgar maxim that half a loaf is better than 
no loaf at all, will not apply in this case, be- 
cause this is no occasion for accepting the half- 
loaf. You may as well have the whole, and 


therefore, on the great Christian principle that 
binds you to take the best course, you would 
be culpable not to take the whole. Your time 
is short at the longest. You have no right to 
read Confucius, or Socrates, or Chesterfield ; 
for you may just as well read Jesus Christ. 

Be entreated then to read him — and what is 
more, learn to represent him. Learn to do this, 
moreover, at every step you take. It is not 
enough that your general intention is to imitate 
or represent him. There are thousands of your 
sex, and ten thousand of mine, who talk well, 
and receive into their heads good sound philo- 
sophy and Christianity ; but that is nearly all. 
For the far greater part, it produces no practical 
effect on the life. It 

" Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart.'* 

It seems to me reserved, by Providence, for 
woman to make a practical application of phi- 
losophy and Christianity to life, as it is. In- 
deed, as I shall say more fully hereafter, I 
doubt whether the application will ever be 
made till woman makes it. Or, in the Ian- 


guage of Mr. Flint, if the world is to be made 
better, woman must take the lead in improving 

For what means the great fact that more 
females embrace Christianity — lowered down 
as its standard may be — than males ? What 
means it, that degraded and depressed as wo- 
man ever has been and still is, she is yet much 
purer and lovelier than man ? What means 
the great fact, that trodden down in the streets 
as she has been, she has founded hospitals and 
many other noble and charitable institutions ? 
What means the still greater fact, that despite 
of the demands of society that woman should 
serve — as Martha of Bethany did, and as anx- 
iously — woman was the frequent follower of 
Jesus ; clung longest to the foot of the cross, 
and was earliest at the sepulchre on the morn- 
ing of the resurrection? 

If you evei hear the charge made that wo- 
man is the weaker vessel, and is so because 
she is more ready than our sex to embrace 
Christianity — when you hear the same slur in 
other forms, thousands of them — do not give 
yourself any trouble about it. In the first 


place, it often comes from a class of men who 
would do much better, if they would sat them- 
selves about the work of self-improvement, 
than to endeavor to detract from the merit of a 
sex to which, after all, they owe under God all 
that they now are, which is worth possessing, 
as well as much that they have, most unhap- 
pily for themselves, cast off. 

Indeed it is not a little in behalf of female 
character, if not of female piety, that these self' 
same traducers of your sex do, after all, secret- 
ly respect it. Not so much I grant, as if they 
had not heard the repeated slanders which 
have been retailed from dissolute writers and 
wholesale libertines. Still there is an innate 
feeling of respect which they cannot get rid of, 
if they would. 

You may hence see that you have power — 
that you do, as a matter of fact, rule the world. 
For if you have but a slight influence over the 
bad, your influence is, of course, much greater 
with the good. And this is true in regard to 
your influence with both sexes. Be encouraged, 
then. Have special courage, moreover, when 
I tell you that young women have more influ- 


ence with our sex, than old ones. I do not say 
it should be so ; that would be to discuss quite 
another question. I speak now only of what 

But I must close this letter. It need not be 
long, if my general views are correct ; because 
however elevated the character of woman — 
however influential she may be, and however 
great the duties she owes to herself to qualify 
herself for fulfilling her mission — she will do 
most for herself while laboring most for others. 
He that watereth shall himself be watered, is 
not only scriptural, but in accordance with 
every day's observation of all who have their 
eyes open to what is going on. either in the 
world without or that within. 

In subsequent letters I will, therefore, en- 
deavor to point out, in my own plain way, 
some of the numerous and weighty duties you 
owe to others. 



Every young woman has a work to do in the 
family. It was not Cain alone to whom the Al- 
mighty Maker of heaven and earth once said, 
'' to thee shall be his desire, (Abel's,) and thou 
shalt rule over him." The command is to all 
elder brothers and sisters, as well as to the first. 
It comes down to you, my dear friend, among 
the rest. 

Your mission, I say, then — so far as others 
are concerned — begins in the family where you 
were born, and still reside. You have younger 
brothers and sisters. Over these you have rule. 
You have it, indeed, in virtue of the general 
law already so frequently alluded to, that wo- 
man rules the world ; but you have it still 
more directly, if possible, in the divine deter- 


mination — except in case of some strange ex- 
ception, lilve that of Esau and Jacob — that the 
younger shall serve the elder. 

Do not misunderstand me, however. The 
greatest of rulers, after all, is he or she who 
serves most. "To thee shall be his desire, 
and thou shalt rule over him," does not mean 
that there shall be servility, in the usual sense 
of the term, on the one hand, or tyranny on the 
other. It means simply, that the younger is 
made dependent on the older for a thousand 
things and favors which Providence has put it 
in the power of the older, as a wise ruler over 
his subjects, to supply. 

I have said that the greatest of rulers is he 
who serves most. Will you pardon, here, a 
momentary digression — -just to illustrate this 
great truth ? Did not our Divine Master say, " I 
am among you as he that serveth ?" Does 
not the Father of the Universe serve or minis- 
ter to his creatures continually ; and has he not 
done so for thousands of years ? In truth, is 
not the best earthly monarch, he who serves 
most ? If you doubt, read history, both sacred 
and profane. 


Be this then the spirit of your rule over the 
younger members of the family where you re- 
side, whether they are your brothers and sis- 
ters or not. Those who are not related to you 
by blood, have a measure of the same depend- 
ence on you that Abel had on Cain, and may 
consequently claim the same sort of service, in 
the way of ruling over them, that Abel had a 
right to claim. 

Fulfil, then, your mission. Oh, how many 
have looked at the mark on Cain, and yet gone 
away, and betrayed their high trust almost as 
effectually as he ! They have not, it is true, 
murdered the body, nor even in a direct man- 
ner the soul. But they have done the latter 
indirectly. They have left it to be starved, 
when they were expected to feed it. 

Would Cain have been guiltless had he only 
suffered Abel to die from neglect 7 And are 
you guiltless, who only suffer a soul to perish, 
at your very side, from sheer inatteniion ? 

Suppose, however, you do more than this. 
Instead of exerting a proper authority and in- 
fluence — the authority and influence of a heav 
enly example — suppose you set, m any respect 


a bad example, and thus not mersly sujfer an 
immortal mind to sink for want of care, but 
actually thrust it down to hell ? 

I may express myself strongly — ^but have I 
not a right to do so ? Nay, is it not my duty 
to do so? How many young women have 
been employed at the toilet or in reading Byron 
or Bulwer, just to while away that time God 
had given them for the sole purpose of enabling 
them to snatch a younger brother, sister or de- 
pendent, from eternal woe ! On how many wo- 
men young as yourself, and situated like your- 
self, has time hung so heavily, that they did not 
seem to know what to do with it, except by 
murdering it, and thus adding to it another 
crime, equally heinous ; — that of practically 
murdering one or more of those immortal spir- 
its for whom time was made ! 

Woman made to rule the world ? And does 
this mean no more than the frequent fulsome 
compliment, Woman is pretty ? How is she to 
rule it ? And when and where is she to begin, 
if not in the family ? Is she to learn first the 
art of murdering time, and influence, and spirit 
itself? Or is she to learn it at the threshold 


of her existence 7 Is she to rule as Cain did 7 
or shall the example of Cain, with five thou- 
sand years of additional experience, recorded 
in sacred and profane history, teach her a bet- 
tor lesson ? 

Do you say, by way of reply, that all this 
devolves, by God's appointment, on your pa- 
rents — that they have experience in education 
and guidance which you cannot, of course, be 
expected to possess — and that Scripture and 
reason and common sense, aye, and conscience 
herself, unite in proclaiming them to be the 
rulers of the family ; and 7iot the brother or the 
sister ? 

Your objection may seem plausible, but is 
it satisfactory ? Parents are the rulers of their 
children according to your statement ; and are 
appointed to be so. And this appointment is 
on account of their superior age, power, and 
experience. But does this conflict at all with 
your sphere of action ? Rather, does the rule 
you are to bear, conflict at all with theirs ? 
Does it not, on the contraiy, tend to sustain 
and strengthen it ? 

For look, but a moment, at consequences. 


Suppose every elder son and daughter in the 
whole world were to co-operate with parents, 
and with the great Redeemer, in the work of 
training each younger child in the way he 
should go ; how long would it be before every 
land would become Emanuel's ? How long 
before holiness to the Lord would be every 
where written ? How long before the whole 
earth would again bloom, as one mighty 

Observe, if you please, that you are not 
required to do, in the family, what you cannot^ 
but only what you can. You are not required, 
in fact, to lay aside your labors, or even your 
amusements. If it were so, your objection 
would have more weight. You are to take 
care of yourself in the first place, no doubt. 
All you have to do is, while thus taking care 
of yourself, to do what you can for others. 

And this brings me to a practical part of 
my letter, which is the ways and means of 
exerting that rule of which I have been speak- 
mg. For to young women who have, as has 
been admitted, but a very limited experience, 
it IS not to be expected general assertions or 



abstract statements will be sufficient. They 
ask, and are entitled to receive more specific 

Let me say, however, negativeiy, m the 
outset, that you are not to rule over the young- 
er brother or sister by mere reasoning with 
them, or by any landmarks, verbal or written. 
You are not to accomplish your work — fulfil 
your mission — so much by direct efforts, of 
any sort, as by more indirect means and 

The first thing to which I will direct your 
attention is their amusements. Join them, as 
much as you can, in their little plays. Surely 
you can demean yourself in this way, for a 
few moments — can you not ? What though 
you are their superior in age by twelve, or 
twenty years ? Old as I am, I could not only 
endure most of their amusements, but, had I 
time to spare for it, could actually enjoy them. 

In doing this, however, be a httle careful, 
especially at first, not to mterfere, too much, 
with their own free agency?-. Children, like 
some other animals, are more easily led than 
driven. Plav with them, I sav. Set them a 


good example — one of truth, fairness, equity, 
and kindness. Teach them, even, by good 
language, by gentle tones, and kind looks. 

One thing should be said preliminary to all 
this, however. You need, in the beginning, 
and all the way through, to have the love of 
infancy and childhood. Without this, you 
will accomplish but little. Most women, 
indeed, possess this qualification ; but there 
are some anomalies — not to say monsters — in 
creation. I have even heard of a few who 
actually hated children. But you, as I well 
know, are not of that unhappy number. 

Never suppose it is beneath your dignity to 
be found amusing yourself in the company of 
young children. It was, I believe, one of the 
king Henrys, who, on being caught at play 
with his child, made an apology. But no 
apology was needed from a father. Still less 
would it be needed from a mother or a sister. 

And if fondness for the young should be in 
you a little deficient, it is a plant which can be 
easily cultivated. Nothing is needed, if you 
have conscience on your side, and regard it as 
a matter of duty, but to begin to be with them 


and watch oyer them. The more you do thi% 
the more you will be mterested in them, and 
even love them. Doing good always produces 
love. And, remember, that the great motive 
1 have presented to urge you to this work, is 
the desire to do good to the young — to be a 
missionary among them, and mould theis 

Nor need you be discouraged by a little 
roughness, and even rudeness on the part of 
the yomig, especially boys. You have already 
taught school long enough, to be somewhat 
acquainted, in this respect, with human nature. 
Besides, it is precisely because human nature 
is not what it should be, that your influence 
and example will be peculiarly valuable. 

You have heard perhaps a story of Plato 
and his disolute nephew. The latter had be- 
come so openly and deeply vicious that his 
friends, all but Plato, disowned him — practi- 
cally turned him out of doors. The latter 
took him in. When his friends remonstrated, 
Plato replied : " My object in taking him into 
my family was to show him, by example, how 
much better it is to do well than to do ilL" 


The same spirit, and the same object it is 
that I aim at, principally, in recommending 
you to join in the sports of your infantile and 
childish associates. But there are a thousand 
places and circumstances besides at their 
sports, in which you can show them by your 
example, how much better it is to do well than 
to do ill. Seize on all such opportunities and 
make the most of them. 

And if need requires that I should say so, 
you have very high example and authority for 
doing thus with the yomig. Our Saviour did 
not hesitate, again and again, to notice little 
children. He took them up in his arms, put 
his hands upon them, and blessed them. Will 
you, then, refuse to bless them, as far as you 
can ? Will you, above all, refuse their society, 
or think it beneath you to mingle in it in order 
to do good ? 



You have other associates in the family, be- 
sides its younger members, over whom yo^r 
example may have influence. True, you may 
do most with the very yomig. The tenderest 
twig is most easily directed m the right way. 
But you may do much with your older brothers 
and sisters, especially the former. 

There is a period in the lives of all young 
men when they begin to feel disposed to break 
loose from ail restraint, both parental and fra- 
ternal. It is the period when passion anij 
appetite struggle for sway, and too often obtaih\ 
the mastery. ' ■ " i 

■ During this dangerous; period. of existence, /" 
this most dangerous part .of :rif€!'s%>y a go, 
nothing is more needed thai^ tlie y/i^^^^wer- 


ful, but yet gentle influence of good, virtuous, 
and intelligent sisters, especially elder sisters. 
They are always of great importance to young 
men, but are of more importance at this time 
than at any, I was going to say,- all others. 

It was a rule among the ancient oriental 
nations, that their young princes, up to the age 
of fifteen or sixteen years, should be commit- 
ted to the care, company, and training of 
females. This is the more remarkable from 
the fact, that it took place at a period in the 
history of our world, when female character 
and female duty were less perfectly understood 
than they now are. 

In any event, it throws much light on the 
great subject of woman's mission. In these 
days, the people are the rulers of the nations, 
and not those who have been generally denom- 
inated the princes. These last are set up and 
put down at pleasure. One day they are sup- 
ported on the shoulders of the populace ; the 
next day they flee before their faces. 

To educate the princes and rulers of mod- 
ern days, therefore, woman must be, emphati- 
cally, an educator of the people. But to edu- 


cate the people — I do not say to iJistruct them 
merely — a right influence in each family is 
most efficient; and above all, a right female 

Doubt no longer, then, my dear sister, 
whether or not woman's mission is important ; - 
nor whether Mr. Flint has been guilty either 
of flattery or exaggeration. Believe and obey. 
Believe that by the constitution of society, as 
God has established it, in his providence, you 
have your feet on the necks of all the kings or 
potentates of future ages ; and that, under 
God, whom you will you can put down, and 
whom you will you can set up. And believing 
this, make haste to govern yourself accord- 

Young men will not seek the advice or 
solicit the influence of elder sisters. They are 
too proud for all that. EspecipJly so are they 
at the time when that influence and counsel 
are most needed ; I mean at the above-men- 
tioned stormy period of existence. Nor can 
you reason them out of their folly. Plato could 
not have reasoned his dissolute nephew out of 
his dissipation. Another course — a very difier- 


ent one — must be pursued, if you would hope 
for success. 

When John Newton, while a young man 
and engaged to a certain young woman, was 
employed in the slave-trade abroad, he was 
subjected to all those temptations which are 
common to the circumstances in which he was 
placed, and before which so many fall. But5 
as he tells us, he was often saved by the re- 
collection of home and the following consider- 
ation : " If I should yield to the temptation, and 
she should know it, what would she think of 


me .i 

Now if you were the sister of a thousand 
brothers, for whom you had labored in season 
and out of season, by reproof and by example, 
all those brothers would have regard, more or 
less, for your good opinion. It is not in the 
nature of things that it should be otherwise. 
True, they might not have as great a regard 
for you, and as much reluctance to give you 
pain as John Newton had, in reference to the 
object of his special affection. Still you v/ould 
have — I repeat it — an irresistible influence over 
their minds and hearts and habits. 


I remember full well another anecdote, which 
It may not be out of place to repeat. Dr. Rush 
"was a man of thought and observation, and 
in particular a.n observer of young men. He 
was indeed a father to_ the young men of -Phil- 
adelphia, especially to those who were diseased. 
They resorted to him in great numbers when 
their pride, perhaps, would have kept them from 
seeking counsel elsewhere. And in reply to 
his oft repeated inqu^y ? Were you bi'^s^htup 
in a family wdiere there were oldeiP^istw^whp 
took a deep interest in your welfare, he almost 
always received a cold negative. 

All this may serve to illustrate and to prove 
my main position, that you have a powerful 
influence for good over your brothers, even at 
an age when you would very little expect it. 
Granted that your influence may be for evil as 
well as good, if you are not careful ; still it de- 
pends on your choice which kind of influence 
it shall be. If you act up to the spirit of 3^our 
mission, you need have no fears for the conse- 

You may ask, perhaps, what are some of 
the methods by which you can influence, fa- 


vorably, your brothers who are younger than 
yourself, otherwise or beyond what you may 
do by a wise and happy example. I might 
mention many. I might speak of efforts to 
render them more fond of home, more sober, 
more chaste, more temperate, &c. I might 
speak of the various ways in which you might 
gain a hold on their affections in conversation, 
and of the books and lessons by means of 
which you might do them good. On some of 
these points, however, I may perhaps speak at 
another time. 

So far as regards your treatment of the 
very young, in whose society your lot may be 
cast, you should remember, in the first place, 
that you were once, yourself, very young. 
" When I was a child, I spake as a child, I 
thought as a child, I understood as a child," 
said a venerable old man. That man would 
have been a good associate and help to yomig 
children, and precisely for the reasons which 
grow out of this statement. 

She who knows and fully feels that she 

once spake, thought, and understood as a child, 

will be most likely to be able to place herself 


in imaginatioiij in tlieir stead, and know what 
will most interest them. 

She will remember they have curiosity^ and 
will labor to gratify it, in every reasonable 
manner. She will never refuse to answer their 
questions, (unless they are asked in an imper- 
tinent or improper manner,) merely because 
they are childish ones. She will remember 
that what seems small to her, may appear 
quite otherwise, and does seem quite other- 
wise, to little children. 

She will remember that they know but in 
part, in regard to those things which have 
come under their observation the most fully ; 
and that of many things which seem plain and 
familiar to her, simply because she has had a 
longer experience than they, they know no- 
thing at all. 

She will remember that they make most 
progress, mental or moral, when they receive, 
so to speak, the smallest amount of food at a 
time. One main idea, at a time, will be usu- 
ally as much as they can seize, or hold, or ap- 
preciate. This one idea you may exhibit in 
as many v/ays and shapes — that is, you may 



illustrate it as much— as you please. But too 
much information at one time, disturbs and 
hinders the free operations of the mind— the 
intellectual stomach— as certainly as too much 
food disturbs the just operations of the stom- 
ach, and impairs digestion. 

An mtelligent friend of mine, a man of forty 
years of age, used to insist that one main or lead- 
ing idea in a sermon or other grave discourse, 
was quite enough for any body. But, however 
this may be with adults, it is certainly so, to 
a much greater extent than most persons are 
aware, with little children. Happy those as- 
sociates of the young who understand these 
and other preliminaries for their task, and act 
according to their knowledge I 



Young women should never despair of doing 
good, even as long as they remain members 
of the family. They may have older brothers 
and sisters, for whom they have it in their 
power to perform kind offices. There may be 
domestics in the family, who need their in- 
structions and aid. Or if none of these, they 
will have parents. 

These last, you have. Your parents, it is 
true, are already intelligent. But can you, 
therefore, do nothing for them ? On the con- 
trary, can you not do the more for them, on 
this very account ? One of the great difficul- 
ties in the way of doing good any where is, as 
I said before, such a want of intelligence, vir 


tue, health, &c., as leaves no basis on which 
to build. This stumbling-stone, Divine Provi- 
dence has taken out of your way. 

Few persons can have more influence with 
parents than you. Not so much, it is true, by 
virtue of reasoning with them as otherwise. It 
is commonly said — and not without truth — ^that 
people do not alter their opinions in any con- 
siderable degree after they are forty years of 
age. You will not therefore expect so much 
from your parents as if they were thirty-five 
instead of sixty. But you may and ought to 
expect to do something for them. 

Indeed, if you were to depend upon mere 
reasoning with them, I say again, you might 
almost despair of changing greatly their opin- 
ions and habits. I will not, however, go the 
length of affirming that you could accomplish 
nothing at all in this way ; for I suppose you 
could do a little. Their opinions are not so 
invulnerable as those of some persons, because 
they are and always have been thinking peo- 

It is those who never think — who take all 
their knowledge, if knowledge it can be called. 


upon trust or at the hand of tradition — who 
cannot and will not be reasoned out of their 
opinions.' They know they are right !' and they 
know it because they know it. 

But you understand enough of human na- 
ture to perceive very clearly that what you do 
with aged parents, must be done very cau- 
tiously and patiently. ■ You may indeed make 
haste to do them good — you must always 
make haste, or at least work with all your 
might — ^but, in this case, you must " make haste 
slowly." You must teach as if you taught 
not, as those who were greater and better than 
you have already done. 

Sometimes you may indeed venture on direct 
discussion, in regard to manners, minds, cus- 
toms, religion and politics. When you do this, 
however, let it be done with the greatest modesty 
which is possible. In a few instances you 
may use the Socratic mode of reasoning with 
them. Generally, however, a still better way 
will be to ask simply what they think of such 
and such opinions or views. 

But you may do more, much more, by 
modestly minghng your conversation with 


theirs, and gently changing the ordinary topics 
of the conversation, for those which are more 
profitable. The world is a 74 gun ship, under 
full sail, a friend of mine used to say, and must 
have its course ; you cannot alter it. But it 
has been altered in its course, I said ; why 
cannot it be again ? And if its course is wrong 
and its force almost irresistible, the greater is 
the obligation, as it seems to me, to do all we 
can to change it. 

In like manner, the greater the difficulty of 
changing the course — the spirit, rather — of the 
conversation at table and elsewhere in the 
family circle, the greater the necessity that we 
should labor with all our might, when we can 
do no more, to bring about, gradually, a refor- 
mation of this kind. 

As I have already intimated, it is the spirit 
of the conversation, rather than its forms, that 
needs your plastic, changing, persevering hand. 
I do not doubt but you may do something in 
regard to the latter, especially by your exam- 
ple. You will, however, be much more suc- 
cessful in regard to the former. 

I have alluded to your example. This 


brings me at once to a most important topic. 
The power of example has long been known. 
That it is more powerful than precept, every 
where, has become almost a proverb. In en- 
deavoring to make changes in the circmnstances 
to which I now refer, example will be your 
principal instrument. 

Labor then, O my sister, that your example 
may prove an instrument for good to your 
advanced — I might say, aged parents. You 
owe them a debt you can hardly repay, were 
this your only motive to activity. But you 
have other and higher motives. You are a 
missionary ; and the family circle is, to a very 
great extent, your field of operation. 

When I speak of your example, I mean a 
great deal. Your conversation, your reading, 
your dress, your eating and drinking, even, 
are parts of your example. In truth, your 
whole life is example, for good or for eviL And 
IS not only example in general, it is example 
in particular. It is example, to your brothers 
and sisters, as we have seen already. It is ex- 
ample, also, to your parents. 

On this point — the power of example — over 


parents, even when those parents are some- 
what advanced in years, I speak with confi- 
dence, because I speak from experience. Or 
if tills seems hke boasting, I will say from ob- 
servation. In more than one instance have I 
known great changes wrought in the old by 
the spirit of Christ in their children and grand- 

This is,*in truth, one cause of that remarka- 
ble character we sometimes meet with in life 
— a green old age. My recollection loves to 
linger among some of these oases of life's 
journey, which half a century's observation 
and some travel have disclosed to my wonder- 
ing view. And I hope to see more of this 
humanity descending to the tomb, and yet clad 
in " living green." 

May you be instrumental in producing some 
of these blessed results. Do not say you can 
do nothing in this way ; it is not so. You 
can do much. We never know how much we 
can accomplish, till we try. That little word, 
"try," here, as well as elsewhere, has done 
wonders ; and may do \vonders again. 


One thought, and by way of encouragement. 
You are now young, but you expect to be old. 
You hope to be, at least. How much would 
you give to possess the character, in age, of 
which I have just spoken ? How much would 
you give to pass down the hill of life, some- 
what as you ascended it ? How much would 
you give to enjoy a green old age ? 

You may enjoy this, and so may I, if we v/ill. 
Shall I tell you the secret? It belongs to no 
fraternity, free or bond — accepted or unaccept- 
ed. It is without grips and passwords, and 
badges and orders. It is the property of all 
who diligently seek it. It is easy to obtain, 
and eas^r to preserve inviolable. 

It consists, simply, in preparing others for 
this pleasant autumnal verdure — this living 
green in old age. The very fulfilment of your 
mission in the family and elsewhere, will be 
the sure passport not only to the verdant fields 
beyond Jordan, but to those on this side of it. 

May you be wise in this particular. Ma^^ 
you take the friendly hints of this letter, and 
act upon them. For myself, I am separated, 


and long have been, from those who were my 
progenitors, so that the good I propose to you 
has not been greatly in my power. May I 
never be thus separated from my own children. 



Let us, however, go a little farther than the 
pale of the family, y Let us go abroad, beyond 
its precincts, among other associates. Here, 
again, you have two Ava^^s of operating on 
mind and heart, as you had in the family. 
You may do much, as you can there, by pre- 
cept ; but still more by example. 

Do not suppose that your obligations are 
lessened towards those who are around you, 
because they do not belong to your own fam- 
ily. I speak now of the nature of the obliga- 
tion, not of the degree of its strength. In this 
there is a wide difference. 

For though the elder brothers and sisters of 
the first family of mankind were under special 
obligation to keep those who were their juniors 


of their own famil}^, they were not at liberty 
not to keep others, so far as it was in their 
power. Our Saviour was set over the yo-unger 
brothers and sisters of Joseph and Mary, if 
any such there were ; but this did not release 
him from the obligation voluntarily assumed, 
of hving and dying for the rest of us. And 
in this particular, no less than in others, he is, 
as I suppose, to be our pattern. '. ; 

We must never forget that by the Divine 
plan — and especially under the Christian dis- 
pensation — all mankind constitute one great 
family, and only one. And a striking peculi- 
arity of the Christian scheme consists in this, 
that as we are all one family, we are to love 
one another, even as Christ our elder brother 
loved us. 

In carrying out the great purpose of your 
life — that of being a missionary to those around 
you — you will, therefore, ever remember this 
great truth, that all mankind are, by the hfe 
and death of Christ, made your brethren and 
sisters. Some are younger, some are older. 
For some you can do much, for others little. 
And if you say that there are pojtions of man- 


kind for 'whom you can do nothing at all, 
(though this opinion might easily be proved 
incorrect,) this does not remove the obligation 
you are under to labor for those whom you 
can reach. 

You can reach, of course, the little circle of 
relatives God has assigned you. There are 
uncles, amits, and cousins. Some of them 
you see often ; others but seldom. With some 
of them you have much influence ; with others, 
but little. With some, you hold correspondence 
by writing ; with others, never. 

There is Belinda. She is one of the most 
intimate relatives you have. You see her 
every week, if not oftener ; besides which you 
exchange from twelve to twenty notes of cor- 
respondence with her in a year. What if she is 
two or three, or even four years younger than 
yourself? Your position with respect to her, 
added to your relationship, give you, as you 
know, an almost illimitable influence over her. 
You can mould her into almost any shape you 
please. And though there are many things in 
her character, v/ith which you have no sympa- 
thy,^ she has some excellencies. 


Here then is a missionary field for you — the 
corner of one at least. For in operating upon 
the mind and heart of BeUnda, and shaping 
her character for two worlds, you are insensi- 
bly moulding and forming the character of a 
multitude of others. I speak now not merely 
with reference to half a dozen other relations in 
the same connection and circle, but also m refer- 
ence to the whole circle of her acquaintance. 

Now I need not tell you that Belinda is su- 
premely selfish, in a,lmost all she says and 
does. I need not remind you, that she is 
encouraging the same thing in her friends and 
associates. You know she has influence, and 
that she.knows it, and desires it, and loves to 
wield it. You know the power of smiles and 

Then, again, you know that influence does 
not stop at the remote points of Belinda's range. 
Those whom she influences have also their 
circles, and these again theirs, and so on — I 
know not how far, neither do you. I speak 
here, moreover, of a single generation — that 
which is now upon the stage of action. 

But you must also remember that each of 


these individuals, connected with all these 
points and circles of influence, is to have her 
influence upon each coming generation down 
to the close of time — nay, more ; throughout 
eternit}^. You will recollect what I said in my 
first letter on this great subject. 

In exerting a power over Belinda, therefore, 
young as she is, and susceptible, you are doing 
an immense work. The only doubt in the mat- 
ter is, whether ytiu can influence her. But this 
question I might almost be willing to leave to 
your own judgment and decision. You can- 
not deny that in this direction, if in no other, 
you have power. 

Nor was there ever, I again say, a better 
opportmiity for an individual to break the ice 
of human selfishness, than this. You know 
the drift of the whole family ; that as it was in 
regard to the idolatry of Athens of old — their 
hearts were wholly given to it — so in regard \o 
the selfishness which at times exists here — 
their hearts are almost wholly given to that. 
Indeed it is nearly as much their idol, for 
aught I can see, as the thirty thousand gods of 
Athens were theirs. 


On what does the conversation of the family 
turn — that of Behnda in particular — but on the 
possession of certain objects which it is supposed 
will confer happiness ? When and where is a 
single word said, which expresses earnest, 
prayerful desire for the happiness of others, 
except so far as such happiness would have a 
connection with their own ? I am afraid such 
a word is never uttered. 

Reflect but a moment, and you will not fail 
to see that in almost every word and action^- 
the thoughts you cannot so well discern as God 
can — of the whole conversation, for example, of 
the whole family of which Belinda is the repre- 
sentative, has a bearing upon what they shall 
have, or possess ; or at most on what somebody 
shall have or possess, whose having or possess- 
ing, will in one way or another minister to their 
own happiness. Or if there be a single excep- 
tion to the truth of this remark, it is found in 
the fact, that here and there — indeed quite too 
often — the possessions of others are spoken of 
as matters of regret, and in the spirit of envy. 

Now I say, you can do something towards 

eifiecting a change in the whole current of this 



conversation. I say still m-ore ; you can do 
more, in the relation you sustain to them and 
the confidence they repose in you, than any 
other, I might almost say than all other, indi- 
Tiduals on earth. 

You can do something by your own con- 
versation while you are with them. You can 
give the current a more benevolent turn. You 
can approve of benevolent effort, of which 
mention is made in their presence. You can 
even introduce topics of benevolence. 

I do not say you should introduce these 
topics, at every time you have an opportunity 
to speak ; nor that you should insist on their 
listening. God only requires you to do what 
you can, in consistency with, their own free 
agency. In making you a missionary in the 
domestic sphere — the most difficult and the 
most important of all missionary spheres — he 
does not require of you impossibilities. He is 
never a hard master. 

But he does, I say again, require of you to 
do what you can. And he requires of you to 
do it boldly and efficiently. You are not to 
shrink from what 3"ou conceive to be youi 


dutyj for fear of oifeiiding people. There is, 
indeed, a choice to be exercised as to the time 
when you speak ; but then you are to speak. 

Much, very much depends upon the manner 
of doing it. As I said in regard to changing 
the current of thought, or attemptmg to aher 
the opinions of nearer friends than cousins, so 
I say in regard to these ; you can ask ques- 
tions, or offer suggestions, or state modestly 
the opinions of others, and ask what they think 
of them. And you can,, if you deem it proper, 
add, with the same modesty, your own opin- 

And if you have elicited their attention, and 
directed it to your favorite subject, so that they 
are interested in it, be satisfied. You have 
done a great deal. Strive to keep the subject 
before them long enough for them to under- 
sta.nd it, if you can. Do not go to the extreme, 
however, of retaining their attention, because 
you have for once secured it, as long as you 
can. Better that you should leave off while 
they are a little " hungry," so to speak, than 
to push your new dish of mental food till they 
are cloved with it. 


Do not be deterred from the plan you pro- 
pose, by the fear of offending them, and thus 
losing yom- influence. I am aware, well aware, 
that much is made of this consideration, in the 
world we live in. Thousands who would do 
good, are hindered from doing so by the fear 
that they shall seem to be singular, and thus 
lose their influence. 

They would advocate, by example and by 
precept, certain changes in manners, habits^ 
dress, &c. They verily believe such changes 
would greatly conduce to human happiness. 
But we shall be thought singular, they say to 
themselves. Or, " how will it look, or seem." 
And they refrain from doing it. They have 
not moral courage to dare to be singular. Not 
so much in every instance on account of the 
loss they would feel in a loss of influence over 
others, as on accoimt of the public or general 
loss which would be sustained. 

Now I am one of those who believe that the 
better days which are coming to the world, 
will never come till such unworthy fears, in 
the minds of good people, are got rid of I do 
not, indeed, believe it a thing desirabfe, in it- 


self considered, that we should be singular ; 
but I do believe it to be often a Christian 

Waiving this matter, however — I mean the 
question of what is duty, generally, as a Chris- 
tian — I come to the question, ^Vhat is your 
duty in 3^0 ur OAvn circumstances, as a reason- 
able young woman, to Belinda? Are you to 
be restrained or withheld from doing your duty 
to her and her family, by any fears of the kind 
to which I have just alluded ? 

In the first place, they expect, always, that 
you will be a little eccentric, as they call it, in 
opinion ; nor do they like you the worse for it. 
Secondly, if you do nothing: for fear of accoin- 
plishing nothing, things will remain as they 
long have been in the family. " Nothing ven- 
ture, nothing have," you know. Thirdly, 
3'ou will not lose their influence ; it is the 
excuse of indolence, and a want of moral 

Another method, however, in which you 
may do good — carry out your missionary plan, 
— is by lending books and papers of the right 
stamp, or by influencing them to borrow or 


buy them of others. This, by the way, would 
be a means of opening the door, often, to con- 
versation on the topics which you desire. 

It will add greatly to the interest they will 
take in your new views, if they see them in 
print ; and still more if they see them in print 
over your own signature. With the idea of a 
thing being in print, is often associated, in the 
human mind, an idea of authority which does 
not belong to it. Still you have as good a right 
to avail yourself of this prejudice, in order to 
do good, as the majority of our writers have in 
order to do evil. On this subject, doing good 
with your pen, I will say more at another 

And yet, after all, your example, both as 
regards externals and internals, habits, man- 
ners, dress, matters belonging to health, intel- 
lectual cultivation, moral development, &c., 
will do more for Belinda and all her friends in 
the way of setting them right, than precept. 
Example is almost, but not quite omnipotent. 

I have fixed my mind's eye on Belinda, as 
a means of illustrating my subject, and of 
making suggestions about the m.odes of doing 



good, and carrying out the great work to which 
I trust you have, for Hfe, devoted yourself. 

But it is not Belinda alone for whom you are 
to live and labor; — I mean beyond the pre- 
cincts of the family. You have some dozen 
or a score of your more distant relatives, male 
and female, over whom you have alm^ost as 
much influence as over Belinda. Nor are the 
methods of operating on Belinda and hex 
circle, which I have suggested, the only 
methods which might have been suggested ; 
much less the only ones of which you might 
avail yourself in the case of others. 

Your young friend, Solomon W , is an 

example of male relatives, in whom_ you take 
an interest. Now did it ever occur to you to 
ask yourself hov/ much good you might do 
him ? Say not that you are almost tired of 
him — ^his dandyism and blustering — and at 
times resolved to give him up, as lost. The 
greater his boasting, and swaggering, and 
dandyism, the greater the necessity that you 
should reclaim him, if possible. 

Do you think it an impossibility ? I do not , 
;and I have reasons. What has become of his 


confirmed, ^nd as it was once thought, invet- 
erate, habit of hanging to the end of a cigar ? 
Has he not reformed, in this particular ? But 
how happened it ? Was it not owing to the 
disgrace into which his foul habit brought him 
in tlie estimation of his mother, and sisters, 
and other friends — you among the rest ? 

But if you and they have been successful 
in breaking up a habit so strong, in a person 
hke Solomon, in what case will you have oc- 
casion for despair ? The truth is, all mankind 
are susceptible of being influenced by each 
other more or less, especially by those whom 
they love and esteem ; and, above all else, by 
youthful and virtuous woman. 



Every young woman has acquaintances over 
whom she has great influence, whose welfare 
she prizes ahuost as highly as her own. It is 
not the ties of consanguinity alone that bind 
usj though these are doubtless ordained of God, 
that they may bind us, when nothing else 

But if you find yourself attached to any of 
your acquaintance as strongly as you are to 
your remoter kindred — perhaps still more 
strongly, for such has been, in some instances, 
the fact — do not, for one moment, doubt your 
obligation to exert yourself in their behalf. 

For surely if you love or esteem them as 
highly as you do your relatives — and es- 
pecially if you have reason to suppose 


the feeling is reciprocated — it is an opportu- 
nity to do good that ought not Hghtly to be 
passed over. Their happiness, their heahh, 
intellectual well-being, and moral elevation, 
are of as much importance in the sight of God 
as they would be, if they were yom- relatives. 
They are the relations of somebody. 

Besides, as we have already seen, the whole 
human race are but one great family. All are 
sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty; 
and whatever ignorance and blindness and 
prejudice may think, all have one common 
mterest. All are brethren and sisters, and 
the sooner they regard themselves as such, the 

I am not at all sure but you may have a 
better and more abiding influence over those 
who are merely acquaintances, than over your 
own relatives. There is, oftentimes, a strange 
feeling of — I know not what to call it, unless 
it were envy — unwillingness to be influenced 
by a relation, lest it should be, in effect, the 
acknowledgment of superiority on their part. 

" A prophet is not without honor except in 


his own country," has been often quoted to 
prove a fact which I beheve is well attested 
by human experience. And yet the whole 
passage, as it stands on the sacred pages, is 
seldom quoted. It is, " A prophet is not with- 
out honor, save in his own country, and m his 
own houseP Plainly implying that the same 
difficulties which lie in our way on account 
of familiarity with each other, prevent our 
doing good not only to our neighbors, but also 
to our relations. And the whole maxim im- 
plies that the farther removed we are from an 
individual, the more likely we are to be sure 
of his honor and esteem, provided, howeverj 
he acknov/ledges our authority. 

In other words, if there be feelings of envy 
and suspicion, and ill-will and hatred, against 
an individual, they are found, as a general rule, 
not among strangers, but among his own rela- 
tives and countrymen. 

Now you are to do all the good you can 
among your relatives, as we have already 
seen. So long as they have no dislike toward 
you, which v^rould serve to detract from the 


good you would do them, so much the better, 
I repeat it, for your purpose ; for the more ac- 
cessible they are. 

But then you must lose no opportunity of 
doing all the good you can abroad among 
your acquaintances. And the same means 
and measures to which I have faintly alluded 
in the preceding letter will be applicable there. 
You can influence and somewhat change the 
current of conversation and feeling, in all the 
various ways in which you can influence those 
who are at the same time both acquaintances 
and relatives. 

Some hold that the fewer acquaintances 
they have the better. The reason they assign 
is, because they shall thus be more free. But 
free from what ? Is it not a freedom from the 
necessity which custom has imposed of dress- 
ing and undressing, giving and receiving calls, 
preparing entertainments, &c. ? 

I grant that if we are to be enslaved thus 
to arbitrary custom, it were better that our ac- 
i^uaintc:jnces should be few. But is there any 
real nev:e;:^sity of this ? Tlie necessity of the 
calU I admii. I'hey are seldom too frequent. 


But does this involve a necessity of that atten- 
tion to dress which is commonly manifested ? 
Are there not a thousand things connected 
with dress, in fashionable life, which neither 
good taste nor neatness demands ? 

And as for sumptuous and costly entertain- 
ments, when acquaintances and friends visit 
each other, no person who reflects will insist 
on their necessity, I am sure. Better for all 
concerned that a greater simplicity should pre- 
vail. But on both these topics, dress and 
entertainments, I may say more on some future 

In general, I think you may properly rejoice 
in having a long list of acquaintances ; and 
instead of wishing to strike from the list any 
of them, you should desire to add to it. Not, 
of course, for the sake of personal gratification 
or display, but that you may do them good, as 
God shall give you opportunity. 



It seems to me a dut3r of young women, both 
to themselves and others, to have a Ust of corres- 
pondents. This Ust may be longer or shorter ; 
but on the principles which have been de- 
veloped in the preceding letter, the larger the 
better, as it enlarges, in the same proportion, 
your field of labor as a missionary. It also 
enables you to do good to some, without seeing 

I cannot help regretting that the usual 
methods of instruction in our schools are such 
as tend to create a dislike to letter Vvaiting. 
Composition studied, and therefore arbitrary in 
its forms, is taught in the far greater number 
of instances, instead of letter writing. So that 
instead of having the latter easy, natural, un- 


affected — a sort of second nature, it is apt to 
become stiff, irksome, and, in fact, almost use- 

Letter writing is naturally a mere substitute 
for conversation. If the latter be what it ought 
to be — and it can never become what it ought 
to be until there is a thorough reform in the 
family, so that from the earliest years of in- 
fancy, every thing is grammatically correct — 
the former might be. She who converses cor- 
rectly, has nothing to do but to talk correctly, 
as it were, on paper. 

Now if letter writing were of this descrip- 
tion, and if we were but accustomed to it, from 
the first, as should be the case, how delightful 
would it be to young women to write letters to 
each other, and to their friends generally ! In- 
stead of thinking, almost with dread, of the 
day when they must write a letter, they would 
rejoice in prospect of a leisure hour for this pur- 
pose ; and only wish that the days were longer 
than they now are, that they might write much 
more frequently. 

Instead of saying, with a yawn, and with 
apparent disgust, To-morrow I shall have to 


write to Miss S., and O how I dread to have 
to-morrow come ! they would be apt to say, 
To-morrow I do hope I shall have time to write 
some letters ; or, To-morrow I hope I shall have 
time to write to Miss S. and Miss G. ; and O 
how I wish to have to-morrow come ! 

I am exceedingly anxious to have letter 
writing or epistolary correspondence placed on 
its proper basis. I long to see it regarded as a 
pastime, instead of a piece of drudgery — as a 
recreation, rather than a task. Instead of feel- 
ing that we must write, because others have 
written to us, and expect a return, I desire 
greatly to have it done as a gratuity ; as an 
act of benevolence. The great Christian maxim, 
"It is more blessed to give than to receive," 
is applicable here, as well as elsewhere. 

But I did not intend to dwell long on episto- 
lary correspondence generally ; though a letter 
on this great subject might, perchance, be use- 
ful to you. All I intend now is to suggest 
to you the importance of doing good through 
this medium. It is one of the ways which Pro- 
vidence points out to us ; and I do not believe 
we have a right to neglect it. We can take up 


the pen and write a dozen times for once that 
we can make a visit, where the distance is con- 

This reminds me of one more difficuUy, in 
regard to letter writing, which most young 
women seem to think well nigh insurmounta- 
ble, viz., a notion they have imbibed, that if 
they write a letter, it must be a long one. 
True it is that most young women have a great 
deal to say in conversation, and therefore 
should have a great deal to say when they 
write. But, then, if we have but little to say, 
let us be contented with writing but little. A 
short letter may, sometimes, do as much good 
to others, if not prove quite so useful to our- 
selves, as a long one. 

The idea — I repeat it — of filling a sheet, 
when you can, is a good one ; but if you can- 
not fill but half a sheet, or even one-fourth, why 
very well — do that. Indeed, half a dozen lines 
to a friend are sometimes productive of great 
good. Be particularly careful, even, to be 
snort, when you have it in your heart to do 
good, and are going to insert, in your letter, 
some timely caution or fr-endly ad^^^onition. 


If we are about to administer medicine, it is a 
kindness to contrive to get it down our 
patient's throat as soon as possible. 

When 3^ou wish to make a friendly sug- 
gestion to your acquaintance, whether the dis- 
tance be great or little, you may often say 
things by letter which you would not like to 
say otherwise, and which, but for the invention 
of letters and letter writing, you would never 
say. Be grateful then, fo God, for this inva- 
luable privilege ; and in the fulfilment of 
3'our mission, strive to make a good use of it. 

This business of letter writing is sometimes 
carried on with great success and much mutual 
benefit between friends, who do not reside a 
mile apart. It has been thus made a means 
of mutually improving their spelling, their 
chirography, their style, and their composition, 
as well as of doing good to each other, socially 
and morally. Let me here relate an anecdote. 

Two friends, among the Green Mountains 
of New England, who scarcely could put two 
ideas together, when required to " write compo- 
sition," began the practice of writing letters to 
each other. One was eleven, the other twelve. 


At first these letters were very crudej and some 
of them very childish things. 

But the correspondence continued as many 
as twelve or fifteen, indeed did not entirely 
cease in twenty or twenty-five years. Some- 
times they wrote to each other once a week ; 
sometimes it was only once a month. The 
letters were often handed to each other at meet- 
ing in school and elsewhere ; for they resided 
so very near together, that the letters might 
almost have been thrown from house to house. 

Now I will not undertake to say exactly 
how much influence this had on the parties 
concerned, for we are exceedingly liable, in 
doing such things, to put effects for causes, and 
causes for effects ; as v/ell as to attribute effects 
to wrong causes. But, as a matter of fact, these 
two young persons both became greatly changed 
in their whole habits and lives. They both 
became authors, one of them distinguished; 
both became doers of good ; especially eminent 
as teachers ; and were it of consequence to be 
mentioned in this connection, both became 
skilled in chirography. 

I might add even more concerning the 


missionary spirit by which these individuals 
became actuated in after hfe, but I for- 
bear ; because, I say again, it is not certain 
how much, in these cases is fairly attributable 
to the habit of letter writing. T forgot to men- 
tion that they often criticised on each other's 
style, and admonished each other in regard to 
conduct; and one of them is accustomed to 
aclaiowledge to his friends tliat the counsels 
of his correspondent, at a certain period, gave 
a favorable change to his whole course of 

If young women, as a general rule, were to 
endeavor to do good by frequent correspond- 
ence with their friends, no one can tell, till the 
day of judgment shall reveal it, half the good 
they might accomplish. I firmly believe it 
would add, in the proportion of 33 to 50 per 
cent, to the beauty of their handwritmg. It 
would also greatly improve their style of writ- 
ing as well as of conversation. It is, in truth, 
a practical way of studying English Gram- 

But this is not all, nor the most. There is 
a blessedness in it, that they only laiow who 


have enjoyed it. The value of social life, 
considered as life merely, without much regard 
to life's great ends, is doubled and even tripled 
by it. And then, if successful in your efforts 
to amend or reform your friend, as you most 
certainly would be, in some instances at least, 
you would have occasion in due time to know 
the truth of what James said on a certain oc- 
casion — That he who converteth a sinner from 
the error of his way, shall save a soul from 
death, and hide a multitude of sins. 



Doing good to your correspondents, is one 
species of doing good with your pen, and tnis 
1 have aheady enjoined on you. But there 
are other ways in which 3rou may employ your 
pen usefully, besides letter writing. 

Some young women have a turn for poetry. 
A few stanzas in the corner of a newspaper, 
over their own signature, open or covert, de- 
lights them greatly. Sometimes, moreover, it 
delights others, and they are thus enabled to 
do a great deal of good. 

Observe, hov/ever, that very much which is 
called poetry does not deserve the name. It is 
mere scribbling, or worse than this ; it is mere 
sound, wilhout sense. Bolter never attempt 


any but prose writing than to make such silly 
work, as do some young people of both sexes. 

I am not aware that you have ever tried 
your skill at this sort of writing. I am glad 
you have not. You might possibly succeed ; 
but you would be more likely to fail. Better 
by far that you should confine yourself to sim- 
ple prose. In this, I am quite sure, from the 
specimens I have seen, you will find yom'self 
quite at home, and do much good. 

Whether you can write books for the yoimg, 
or indeed for any class of the community, so 
as to make it a means of support, I very much 
doubt. I mention this last circumstance, be- 
cause, though I Iviiow less about your necessi- 
ties than you may suppose, yet I take for 
granted every young woman ought to support 
herself if she can. But authors, for various 
reasons, though always as a general rule, poor- 
ly paid, are much more poorly paid than they 
were twenty-five years ago. There has been 
such an inundation of foreign books, which 
cost the publishers aiothing for copyright, that 
authors have received comparatively little en- 


couragement, except in the case of a few fa- 
vored ones of great acquired reputation. 

Should you attempt authorship, you will 
probably do most good in making Sabbath 
School books. But be slow and cautious, ana 
adhere as much as possible to matters of fact ; 
at least you should be careful to have these as 
your basis. 

I think, however, that your "forte" is in 
writing for our periodicals. These are nume- 
rous, and of every grade of character. True 
it is, that they seldom make any compensation 
to their contributors; so that you will pro- 
bably feel justified in writing but little. Still, 
the little you do, if done right, may be of in- 
calculable utility. In a few instances, how- 
ever, you may receive a moderate compensa- 
tion for your articles. 

If your heart is set on doing good, from time 
to time in this way, watch the operations of 
your mind, and when you find it full of a sub- 
ject, so to speak, seize your first leisure hour 
to let it spin off at the tip of your pen. Wait, 
however, till you have thought the matter all 


Let me counsel you a little, in regard to a 
few things which experience alone will teach, 
but which it will cost you many long years to 
acquire ; or which, if you wait to acquire, you 
may have to acquire at very great cost, such 
as the loss of your eyes, or health, or life. 

Do not write late in the evening. Many 
young people think this is their best hour; 
and a few sit up very late indeed. I knew 
one young man, who boasted that he could 
write best from midnight to two o'clock. I 
have known many who preferred from ten 
to twelve, or one. Never yield to the tempta- 
tion to sit up later than ten o'clock ; and it is 
not well to write even as late as that. 

Be careful about your sight. Do not let the 
lamp light fall directly on your eyes, at least 
very long at a time. You may find yourself 
attacked with the disease called amaurosis if 
you do. Avoid also too feeble a light. Oil is 
cheaper than eyes. Above all, take special 
care to avoid the united effect of lamp light 
and heat. 

Even strong heat alone, acting directly on 

the eyes, may cause you much trouble. Sit- 


ting in a semicircle around hot fire-place^ 
pleasant as from early association it is to many, 
will be apt to injure your eyes, so as to give 
you occasion to use spectacles long before you 
jeach the age of Methuselah. 

Do not strive to be witty ; it is enough if 
you are wise. Aim, in the first place, to do 
good. Secondly, endeavor to be good-natured. 
Thirdly, be sprightly. If wit comes, do not 
despise or reject it ; but never strain for it. It 
is the most useless thing, in conversation and 
in writing, when it does not flow freely, that 
can possibly be. As Young, the poet, has 
well said : 

" It hoists Tiscre sail to run against a rock." 

But I must conclude this letter. My next 
will be longer, for I have more to say. 



li 'VV'iTHouT a friend the world is but a wilder- 
ness," said an old school book, in which, nearly- 
half a century ago, I used to read daily les- 
sons, at the primary or district school. "A 
man may have a thousand intimate acquaint- 
ances," said the same book, farther on, "and 
not one friend among them all." " If you have 
one friend," said the writer in conclusion, 
" think yourself happy." 

Unhappily for the well-being of our race, 
this statement is not so wide from truth as 
many individuals might at first view suppose. 
For not a few people can be found who pass a 
long life in this wilderness world, as the Amer- 
ican Preceptor called it, without a single real 


friend. Real friendship is a plant rarely found 
on this terrestrial sphere. 

To be willing to die for another has been 
sometimes regarded as the best and surest test 
of friendship ; hence the story of Damon and 
Pythias has been told, and the conduct of the 
heroic friend has been lauded in all ages. And 
we have high authority, as it would seem, for 
this low view of the highest friendship. 
'•' Greater love hath no man than this, that a 
man lay down his life for his friends." 

But have we understood correctly the im- 
port of this remarkable declaration ? Was it 
more than to prepare the way for what imme- 
diately followed — viz., "A new commandment 
give I unto you ; that ye love one another as I 
have loved you ? " 

And how had he loved them? How, in- 
deed, but by living for them? And this 
living for them he was about to set his seal to, 
by dying for them. In my own view, the 
statement that no man had exhibited higher 
love than to die for his friend, was designed to 
illustrate his own higher love and friendship 
by placing it in contrast. 


Now this willingness to live and die for 
each other, actually carried into daily and 
hourly life, is the test of Christian friend- 
ship. Merely to be willing to die for one 
another, is a good test of heathen friendship, 
but the Gospel suggests a higher, and more 
difficult. It costs not half the effect to die for 
a friend that it does to live for him. Any one 
can do tire former ; some have done it ; — few, 
if any, except our Saviour and the martyrs, 
have come up to the spirit of the latter. 

God has instituted the family, in part, no 
doubt, as a means of securing this point — that 
of having a few friends. In the first place, it 
establishes, or ought to establish, the friendship 
of conjugal life. Secondly, the friendship of 
parents for children, and children for parents. 
Thirdly, the friendship of brothers and sis- 

Where friendship is thus secured — where 
the duties of these various relationships are 
properly discharged — the members of a family 
are ready to do any thing whatever which may 
be necessary for the common or general good 
of the family. And not only this, but they are 


ready to undergo any privation or suffering 
which may be necessary. 

To be a Uttle more practical. You are re- 
quired to be the true friend of your parents, 
and your brothers and sisters. Tiiey are also 
required to be friends to you. But their friend- 
ship for you, you cannot wholly control. It is 
true, as the old adage says, that they who 
wish to have friends, should first show them- 
selves friendly. Your friendship for them, 
duly carried out, will have some effect to ren- 
der them friendly to you ; but it will not wholly 
form anew, that character which has been 
fixed or stationary for fifteen or twenty years. 

The truth is, few parents are the real friends 
of their children. They may be willing to suf- 
fer for them, and possibly even to die for them. 
Such love you may have for your brothers and 
sisters. But these instinctive or family friend- 
ships seldom rise higher than this. Where 
will you find the father, mother, brother, sis- 
ter, son, or daughter, who is daily and hourly 
laboring to live for his relatives — whose in- 
tellectual and spiritual life is, as it were, bound 
up in theirs? 


Do you ask what it is to which I refer, when 
I speak so often of Hving and dying for each 
other, as the test of friendship ? Or, at least, 
what it is in particular, which I mean, by liv- 
ing for each other ? Or, still more specifically, 
what, according to my own view, are some of 
the offices of this living friendship ? 

The reply in few words is, The greatest and 
highest office of friendship is to make wiser 
and better, especially the latter. When parents 
or other family relations make it their constant 
task to correct the faults, remove the ignorance, 
and develop all the good tendencies of those 
with whom God has thus brought them in 
contact, then, and only then, do they become 
true friends, 

I might leave it with you to apply the prin- 
ciples I have here laid down to your own cir- 
cumstances. You know whether in giving 
you parents and other near relatives — as good 
and as friendly, to say the least, as the aver- 
age — God has, at the same time, given you 
friends ; or whether, notwithstanding the abun- 
dance of their instinctive love, the Avorld is 
but a wilderness and a solitary place to 5^ou. 


You know whether their great aim has heen 
to make you what God designed you to be ; 
whether they have trained you for him, or 
whether they have simply consuhed their own 
convenience in their whole coursCj without so 
much as once a day asking what God would 
have them do with, and for you. 

For myself I can scarcely believe that you 
have been the subjects of family arrangements 
which exclude God and Christ, and which are 
essentially infidel. And yet such is the gene- 
ral course, even in Christian families. Chil- 
dren are almost as seldom trained to be the 
missionaries of Christ — to do what he would 
do in their circumstances — as if Christ had 
never lived and died for them. 

Need I repeat that children not thus trained 
— I mean trained or educated with a lower 
aim than this — are without friends, so far as 
that education is concerned? That the 
parents who only labor to bring up their chil- 
dren in accordance with the general sentiment 
of the religious public, are not actuated by any 
thing like true fiicndship J 

But I may seem to forget whom I am ad- 


dressing. I am only preparing the way for 
yon, so that you may ascertain whether or not 
you have any true friends. For if not, and if 
the world is but a wilderness, without at least 
one such, then it is high time to seek for one. 

Let me advert to one or two rules, by which 
you may be assisted in your inquiries. 

Do those persons who are nearest to you, 
who love you most, who think they are your 
friends, and who would in any event vdsh to 
be so — do they speak of you habitually, as 
their property, or as God's ? Do they speak 
of you, I say, as their property, and of your 
death — should you sicken and die — as their 
loss, or as God's ? Or if they speak of other 
parents, as losing their children, how do th^y 
speak in that case ? 

Do they labor, from day to day, to correct 
your faults ? Or do they, for fear of giving 
you pain or humbling you in your own estima- 
tion, suffer your wrong habits to go unreproved 
and uncorrected ? Do they even worse than 
this — do they endeavor to gloss them over, or 
even conceal them ; and do they teach you by 

example to do the same 7 Or if they do none 



of these things, now that your character is 
more fully formed, did they thus, when you 
were from seven or eight to fifteen or twenty ? 

If you should have reason to believe, on due 
examination, that neither your parents, nor 
any of your brothers or sisters, have ever 
learned to act the part of true friendship, and 
that it is too late for your parents to do so, 
consider well whether you have a brother or a 
sister that may be fashioned by God and your- 
self for this kind office. 

An elder brother will be, in many respects, 
a suitable person for your purpose. He would 
be so, at least, were he as much in your soci- 
ety as an elder sister. A female resident in 
the family — some maiden lady in whom you 
have confidence — will answer well your ends, 
when there is no suitable brother or sister. 

Better go out of the family, however, than 
to pass through the world friendless. Some 
young woman v/hom you know in the neigh- 
borhood, may be the individual to assist you 
in the great work of becoming wiser and bet- 
ter. But it should be some one who knows 
you pretty intimately; who sees you pretty 


often ; and who is herself striving to become 
what you desire to be. 

Of course there can be no objection to more 
than one friend. But so rare are individuals 
to be found who are willing to bear the bur- 
dens for the sake of the rewards of friendship^ 
that you may think yourself highly favorec(. 
in finding and securing one. I never knew a^ 
person who had more than three. Fewer, by 
far, have none at all, than three or even four. 

When I say I never knew a person who had 
more than three true friends, I do not mean to 
affirm, unwisely, that no individual ever had a 
greater number ; or even that none of my own 
acquaintances ever had a greater number. I 
only speak of v/hat I know, and testify of 
what I have seen. They may have had 
friends of whom I was ignorant. 



ou will have seen, by this time, that I regard 
ou as a social — not a solitary being. You 
ee 1 attach great importance to friendship and 
,ympathy ; not solely on account of the plea- 
sure we feel in rejoicing with those who rejoice 
and weeping with those who weep, but also on 
the ground of utility — their instrumentality in 
making us wiser and better, and enablmg us 
the better to fulfil our mission. 

And why should we not regard friendship 
and social life as greatly important ? Has not 
the Creator regarded them thus ? Is it noc 
written on the whole constitution of human 
nature, as well as on surrounding things, that 
man is for society ? Why, then, were it other- 
wise, do we have the family and the church ? 


I have somewhere in my writings — I beheve 
in my "Letters to Young Men" — remarked 
that God might have made our world, had he 
chosen to do so, on the sohtary plan. Or 
rather, had he chosen to do it, he might have 
cut up our planet into some 800,000,000 or 
1000,000,000 of smaller worlds, placed a 
human being on each, and set him and his 
globe to whirling, as he has this. And he 
might, too, have so arranged things that he 
might have had possession of it, for thousands 
of years, "sole monarch" of all he sur- 

But such is not the scheme under which we 
live. It is far otherwise. Providence has laid 
the plan of a great family. And not content 
with sketching the design, he has done all he 
could, consistently with human free agency, 
to put it in successful operation. Mankind, of 
both sexes, are designed for social life, and for 

I said, in my last, that, on many accounts, 
an elder brother was apt to prove a valuable 
friend. But I mentioned, at the same time, a 
difficulty — that brothers and sisters are not 


enough in the society of each other to make 
them vakiable friends. This is the fact when 
brothers remain in the family. But they are. 
often, early separated from the family — which 
increases the difficulty. 

It is therefore a wise ordinance of the great 
Creator that an attachment to the other sex, 
beyond the precincts of the family, should at 
an early age spring up, and gradually de- 
velop itself, especially when it meets with a 
corresponding feeling from those towards 
Avhom it is directed. The result is, m some 
instances, a friendship as lasting as life itself 

When this is the favorable result, one great 
end of the divine mind, in so forming our 
natures as to have them point in such a dhec- 
tion, is answered. All the failures of the 
parents and other members of the family are 
thus, in some measure, made up, or may 
be so. 

But observe that I have said, in relation to 
this subject, in some instances. Would that 
such were the general result, or that it were 
so, in a majority of cases. Would that it were 
something more, even, than a rare exception 



to the general rule. You will not find it thus, 
in one case of ten. 

There are various reasons for this. One is 
a want of proper knowledge on this great sub- 
ject. Young women have seldom, if ever, 
received any valuable instruction from those 
whose delightful office it should have been to 
point their offspring to what is alike their high 
destiny and duty. Parents have not been, as a 
general rule, the true friends of their children. 

Another reason why a genuine attachment 
and union of the sexes does not secure the 
point of having at least one true friend, and 
that for life, is, that young men are as unin- 
formed on this subject as young women. They 
even think much less of conjugal life, as a 
means of forming and elevating their charac- 
ter, than young women do. 

But another reason still, is the want of a dis- 
position to do as well as they know. For nei- 
ther young women nor young men come up to 
known duty, in this particular. They wil- 
lingly suffer fancy, passion, and appetite to 
mislead them. They are also misled by many 
other influences. 


But the most prolific cause of the unfortu- 
nate result to which I have alluded, is the 
great fact, that the society of the sexes is not 
properly managed. Yomig women, very often, 
enter into matrimonial life as ignorant of the 
character of their associate as ignorant can 
be. No wonder they so seldom find a friend, 
and that we have, in the language of Dr. 
Watts, so " few happy matches." 

" 'Tis friendship makes the bondage sweet," 

he says ; and he says truly. And it is the 
want of true friendship, in matrimonial life, 
that more than all things else below the sun, 
makes life a scene of discord, and sometimes 
a burden. 

Now, as surely as God has made matrimony 
a duty on the part of both sexes, and required 
them to be trained to look forward to it as a 
duty, just so surely has he designed friendship 
to be one great end of that matrimony. This 
points out, of course, the first and great quali- 
fication you are to seek, in a companion of the 
other sex. The first great question, then, you 
are tc ask, in seeking out a friend for life, is, 


Have God and nature formed him for friend- 
ship ? 

You will be disposed to interrupt me here, 
and say, But can there be no society, or at 
least, no intimate friendship for the other sex, 
but what points to matrimony ? Is the circle 
of male friendships thus narrow ? 

Not necessarily, I admit. Friendships for 
the opposite sex pa-e occasionally formed, which 
are highly valuable ; but which have not the 
slightest bearing on the point of which I have 
been speaking. I have known some such. 
Generally, however, it is not so. 

A yomig man may select a young woman, 
or rather a woman of middle age, as a valua- 
ble friend, without entertaining a particular 
affection for her ; but, for some reason or other, 
a young woman of from fifteen to thirty, will 
find it more difficult. Indeed it is a course 
which I cannot recommend it to you to at- 
tempt, out of the familjr in which you were 

I have said that a young man may some- 
times have for an intimate friend, a middle- 
aged woman. There is one reason av;^^" friends 

158 GIFT book: foe youxq ladies. 

of opposite sexes are particularly desirable 
They may discover faults which otherwise 
might never be detected. Woman, especially, 
is eagle-eyed to discover our faults. She 
seems, on some points, to know us, as it were, 
by intuition. And I have reason for believmg 
that, in a few particulars, our sex are able to 
detect faults in ^^ours, which might elude all 
3rour own vigilance. 

All this points to matrimony, as indispensa- 
ble to the perfection of human character. It 
is, in truth, my most deliberate conviction, that 
every individual of the human race should be 
trained to look forward to matrimonial life as 
a duty — I had almost said a sacred duty. 
They should regard it as such primarily, if 
not chiefly, for the sake of friendship. 

The young, I knov\^, especially young wo- 
men, are apt to regard themselves at perfect 
liberty on this great subject. Indeed I know 
of nothing about which they are so unwilling 
to brook restraint, or even feel obligation. " If 
a young woman is not free in this matter,-' 
said a female acquaintance of mine, " I know 
not where she is so." 


Most certainly, I said, she is free as air in 
this particular as in all others, with one excep- 
tion ; she is not free to do wrong. She is un- 
der obligation to obey the laws of God, wher- 
ever she finds them. And if marriage is one 
of the divine laws — one too, which has been 
of six thousand years standing, and which has 
never yet been repealed — is she not bound to 
conform to it ? 

It does not follow, that she is bound to mar 
ry, at any particular age, especially at an early 
age. Nor has God required her to connect her- 
self thus, for life, with strangers. He has only 
made the general requisition, and pointed out 
the general laws by which she should be gov- 
erned, in this respect ; leaving it to science, and 
experience, and common sense, to make the 

Many of my thoughts on this great subject, 
you have probably seen developed in the 
"Young Man's Guide." True, I was there 
writing for the eye of young men more direct- 
ly ; but also, indirectly, for that of young wo- 
men. Not a few of the very same qualifica- 
tions which a young man should seek in a 


female friend for life, should be sought also by 
young women in the opposite sex. 

But there are thoughts not found in that 
work, which it seems to me might be useful to 
you ; and which I will present for your consi- 
deration in my next letter. And there are 
other thoughts there which ought to be amph- 
fied. But this letter is sufficiently extended, 
and I will close it when I have added one 
thought more. 

It is this. The conditions and circumstances 
of matrimonial life, when the qualifications of 
the parties are such as they ought to be, and 
when they are mutually adapted to each other, 
are such that woman can far better fulfil her 
mission in this relation than in any other. It 
brings her into contact with society, in a way 
and manner, and with a weight of influence, 
to which she must, without it, ever remain a 



One essential qualification of a friend and 
companion for life is, as I said in my last let- 
ter, a constitutional capability. Have God and 
nature formed him for friendship ? should be 
with you, as I said, a great and important ques- 
tion. And I still adhere to this opinion. 

I do not mean to say, or to intimate, that 
God has so formed some men that they are 
absolutely incapable of friendship. No such 
thing. Undoubtedly -the world animal, every 
species of it, was formed, like the world vege- 
table, on the great principle of endless variety 
of character. Still there no doubt that 
every individual of our race might be so train- 
ed and circumstanced, as to be capable of a 
greater or less degree of friendship. 


And yet it -would not be ti-ue to , say, that 
every individual of our race has been thus 
trained. Our education is so selfish in its 
character — that of the family, no less than that 
of the school — that our natures, as they appear 
at twelve, fifteen, or twenty, are often entirely 
unfitted for the great work of being friendly. 

You have had ample opportunity, consider- 
ing your age, for verifying the truth of what I 
now assert. You have been as ready, almost 
so as myself, to complain of human selfish- 
ness, in its various forms. You have found, 
as you thought, some of the strongest mani- 
festations of it in our sex. You have found it 
among your acquaintance, if not your relatives. 
You have found it at the school-room, at the 
social party, and elsewhere. In short, you 
have found it wherever you have found boys 
and young men. And more than this, you 
have sometimes been discouraged. 

But it should not be so. You do not forget 
v\^hat Solomon says : that though he had not 
found one true woman among a thousand, he 
had been a little more successful among his 


own sex. One man among a thousand have I 
found, says he. And I think the proportion in 
our day, and in Christian countries, if not as 
great as it should be, is much greater than one 
in a thousand in the ranks of both sexes. 

There are young men who care for others. 
There are those who remember that there is 
somebody else in the world besides themselves. 
There are those who have friendly feelings 
towards others — who have moments of their 
life, at the least, in which they desire to do 
them good. 

You will discover it in their whole deport- 
ment. You will discover it in the respect they 
show for their mothers and sisters, and other 
female friends. You will discover it in their 
treatment of infancy and cliaidhood. You will 
discover it — you m.ust ere now have discovered 
it at the public^chools. 

I grant, indeed, that such exhibitions of a 
capacity for forming real friendship may bo 
rare ; and I admit, most cheerfully, what I have 
known you and many other young women 
urge^ that all this which I have mentioned, is 


often mere pretext — done for effect. Never- 
theless there are some noble and hearty excep- 

On this point, however, I wish to be under- 
stood. I am far enough from believing, that 
there is no mixture of selfishness with the de- 
sire which is occasionally found, to please and 
make happy. I would not endorse for the per- 
fection, absolutely and unqualifiedly, of any 
young man in the world. All seek their own, 
more or less, not another's good. 

Still you will find, along with the native and 
acquired selfishness of young men, quite a 
sprinkling of benevolence. You have found 
it aheady among some of your own circle ; 
you will not doubt that it can be found among 
others. You will not believe that your own 
relatives and acquaintances are superior to 
those of every body else. |^ s^ . 

Or, if you still say that when they»take in 
their arms the crying infant, or reach forth the 
helping hand to the chilcT who has fallen in 
the street, or listen to its prattle, it is all to 
please the mother, or sisters, or other friends, 
and is consequently still selfish in its charac- 


ter ; you will not deny, of course, that these 
deeds, with a benevolent outside, are daily and 
hourly performed. There is at least the sem- 
blance of benevolence. 

Now I must put in a claim just at this point. 
Can you believe that there is nothing genuine 
in all this ? Grant that the coiunterfeit by far 
exceeds the genuine ; is there, therefore, no 
genuine ? So much smoke, and yet no fire ? 
Do you seriously believe it ? I am sure you 

The counterfeit, as I maintain, implies the 
genuine. More than even this, it proves its high 
value. The more frequent the counterfeit, as 
a general rule, the greater the worth of the 
genuine. Men do not usually drive a very 
large business in counterfeiting that which 
they know society will rega ^d^ S^' valueiess. 

You have, I know, many difficulties to en- 
counter. It is not always, nor indeed often, 
easy to distinguish the genuine from the coun- 
terfeit. There is a risk to be run. Not so 
great, however, where good sense is brought 
into requisition, as in other circunistances. 
Matrimony is not quite a lottery ; at least it 

166 GIFT boo:k ¥ou rojji^G ladies. 

need not be so. God never intended it should 
"be. Still there is room for mistake ; and there 
should be. This is one part of the trial of 
your character. 

One of the difficulties you have to encoun- 
ter isj in the fact that young men whom you 
meet at your age, do often so, while in your 
presence, assume ' the borrowed character al- 
ready alluded to } while custom does not per- 
mit you to see them much in other circum- 
stances. You are almost compelled to see them 
where custom requires them to act over this 
borrowed part. 

Were you to see them at their homes more 
frequently, and in their accustomed dress, em- 
ployments, and society, it would be otherwise. 
You might then judge of their real character, 
with considerable exactness and certainty. 
Grant to'womaiTout this privilege, and compel 
her to exercise it, and the complaint that mar- 
riage is a lottery, and male friendships a mere 
mockery, would ere long pass into desuetude. 

She might, indeed, in too many instances, 
for a time, make blunders. She might be gov- 
erned in her selection, by mere whim, or caprice, 


or fancy ; or sometimes by an undue regard to 
property, rank, or other factitious circumstances. 
A majority, however, of the wise, would make 
a more rational choice. There would be, with 
these, a due regard for friendship, or at least 
for the capacity to be friendly ; and the world 
would not fail to discover it, and in process of 
time, to imitate it. 

But though you cannot control all the cir- 
cumstances of life, you can do very much. 
If you cannot shape the company to which you 
are admitted, you can very greatly shape that 
to which you admit others. Or if, in extend- 
ing your invitations to those around yoix^it^ 
should seem expedient to you to exercise the 
truly republican right of choice ; still" it will 
give you an opportunity to exercise some de- 
gree of choice in regard to yoiLir rnore intimate 
male associates. It will enable you to judge 
who in the company is worthy of your pre- 

Not, it is true, if your parties are confined to 
the evening hours ; nor, above all, if you do 
not break up till midnight or afterward. It is 
a miserable season between nine or ten in the 



evening, (the hour when all good people ought, 
as a general rule, to retire,) and twelve, or one 
at night, to study character. 

Worse still is it, when accompanied by the 
song, the dance, the supper, or the wine, or by 
any two of these. One of the first two of these, 
for an early hour or so, under the eye of judi- 
cious older persons^ .might be tolerable ; but 
beyotud this, good taste should not permit you 
to go. 

Worst of all, however, when you attempt to 
study character at late night hours, and alone. 
But, on this point, I forget that my cautions 
are not needed. Your society, male and 
female, is of a class thart voluntarily breaks 
up at th^hour of closing business — the hour 
when na'tu^e, and philosophy, and physiology 
alike demand it. 

Your custom of encouraging parties of 
young people, both by precept and example, 
to meet at an early hour of the afternoon, and to 
break up immediately after "tea," (as the third 
meal used to be called,) or at most at eight or 
nine o'clock, is worthy of all admiration, and 



all imitation. I have thought of it a thousand 
times, and always with much pleasure. OTof^ 
you do nothing else, while you live^ ia the way * 

of reforming the erroneous habits of sdciGty, i 

than to set this bright example in your neigh- 
borhood, you will have th.e consolation of not 
having lived wholly in vain. For though the 
custom may not, at present, be largely follow- 
ed, yet the hour is coming when it will stand 
out like a beautiful oasis in the monotony- of* 
life's Sahara, and be copied perhaps by t^u- 
sands and million.s... 

If yoif^sk lohen^^ you proposea q.uestion whieh . 
I cannet ai^wer. I know nof'whe.ther it will 
be in fifty years,' five hundred, or five thou- 
sandv Indeed it does not belong to my mission 
to atfain tQ. any certainty about times and sea- 
sons, which God hath put in his own power. 
Enough perhaps, f8^©%and me, if we do our ,. ^ 
duty, and leave tR'e future to Him who sees \*^:JB 
the end from the beginning. \ ^ 

You may say, as you have sometimes said ' ' 
before, that I have large faith. It may be so ; 
it certainly should be so. And I wish you to 


have. I am fully assured, both from Scripture 
TinJ'the nature of things, that God hath in re- 
serve for us, great things. And that to bring 
to pass these great things, woman, in the daily 
and hourly fulfilment of her mission, is to be a 
most important and efficient instrument. 

But woman, in order to carry out her mis- 
sion in the best manner, must, I say again, have 
one male friend. She may do much alone, I 
grant — I have already granted it. She may 
d% much with the aid and sympathy of female 
friendship. Nothing, however, at. least com- 
paratively nothing, to what she may do when 
aided by a worthy friend of kindred spirit from 
the opposite sex. Matrimony not only dou- 
bles the joys of life, but it doubles and triples, 
yea, and quadruples its efficiency for good, 
both to the parties themselves and to the 
world. • * * * 

I may seem to you digressing. My main 
purpose in this letter, was to tell you how to 
overcome the difficulties you must meet with, 
in the selection of a truly worthy friend and 
companion for life. I wished to make many 


preliminary remarks, however. These I have 
now made. Unexpectedly, they have taken 
up so much space that I must defer the rest to 
another opportunity. 



Do you never pray 7 But why should I ask 
such a question ? I know you are a woman 

of prayer. Ask, then, the Divine guidance, 
that what I shall say may be not only said 
wisely, but properly and kindly received, and 
may be productive of good results. 

I have alluded to the difficulties you have 
to encounter in your endeavors to determine, 
for yourself, whether a young man is formed 
for — is capable of friendship. These difficul- 
ties, I have told you, though great, are not 
wholly insurmountable. They have been met 
and overcome. And Vv^hat lias been done, in 
this respect at least, may be done again. 

If young men regard any thing beyond their 


own gratification, either immediate or remote, 
you cannot be much in their society without 
finding it out. But if, on the contrary, self, 
and the exahation and fehcity of self, be, with 
them, the all in all of life, this disposition too, 
may not unfrequently be detected. 

Selfishness will show itself, in all the varied 
forms of conversation.- It will ahvays be endea- 
voring to make itself the standard in intelligence, 
morals, politics, religion, and every thing that 
comes up in conversation. It will too, always, 
endeavor to be the hero of the story or the cir- 
cle. It will never be so well satisfied with 
others as with itself 

Benevolence, on the contrary, respects much 
more the opinions and feeUngs of others. It is 
willing to be the hero of the story, but also 
willing, nay, sometimes desirous that others 
should be. It does not find other men and 
things perfect ; but, however great its dissatis- 
faction with others, it is much more dissatis- 
fied with itself 

There is as wide a difference — almost so — 

between the young man who, through all the 

changes and chances of an afternoon's con- 



versation, seeks to make others pleased with 
themselves and happy, and the selfish being 
who is seeking only his own happiness in all 
he says and does, as there is between the bright 
inhabitants of the realms of bliss, and those of 
the pit that is bottomless. 

When you find the former trait of character 
fully developed, you hav6 found one indication 
of a heart formed for friendship. Observe, 
however, that I say one indication only, for 
every thing has its counterfeits ; and this qua- 
lity may be counterfeited as well as others. 

A gentleman whom I well knew, was going 
over the Atlantic to Liverpool. On board 
the packet were two Englishmen, of fine ap- 
pearance, and the most attractive kindness. 
Their external benevolence to all the passen- 
gers, whatever their age, sex, or color, won the 
hearts of all, and of my friend among the rest. 
Judge then, if you can, of his surprise when 
he found they were both atheists of the rank- 
est sort. Nor were they at their own homes 
very much respected. 

I recollect an acquaintance which I made 
with a young man, about thirty years ago, in 


Yirginia. No one could exceed him in the 
kind external attentions he paid to the wants 
and woes of others. His politeness and gen- 
tlemanly deportment so wrought upon the 
heart of one grave matron, who was not wholly 
ignorant of his atheistic principles, that she 
gave him her daughter, (whose young heart he 
had won long before ;) though she lived to re- 
gret it. He proved to be a cold, calculating, 
miserly man, as far removed from the benevo- 
lence of that gospel which the mother professed, 
but whose leading principles she had practi- 
cally disregarded,* as could well be imagined. 
Beauty, it has been said, is but skin deep — 
and so of mere politeness. 

But hov/ shall the genuine, in this case, be 
distinguished from the counterfeit ? I answer, 
by a long and intimate acquaintance. I mean 
particular, however, rather than intimate ; for 
intimacy, under the circumstances, can ha.rdly 

* It is no part of Christianity to select as a companion 
for a daughter, one who possesses^mere external qualifications. 
These are not to be despised ; but they are secondary to a 
good heart. 


be expected. You must see him frequently, 
and in ever varying circumstances. If this 
can be accompUshed, you will probably gain 
your point. His selfishness, if that be a pre- 
dominating trait, will show itself somewhere. 

You may understand a good deal about his 
general character and spirit, if you can ascer- 
tain how he treats his own mother and sisters. 
The young man who is truly friendly at home 
may, by possibihty, be friendly elsewhere ; but 
he who never said or did a kind thing to those 
who have done so much for him, is quite un- 
worthy of your confidence or your love. But 
I have spoken of all this in another letter. 

It is not impossible, I grant, that he may be 
reformed. The old maxim — " a reformed rake 
makes the best husband," might be very well, 
but for one difficulty, which is that a rake is 
not very susceptible of being reformed. But I 
should have almost as strong a hope of your 
being able to reform a rake, as a cold, calcu- 
lating, selfish man ; or one even who was not 
trained to benevolence. 

And this reminds me of certain things which 
I have seen during the last fifty years, in the 


world of family education, against the influ- 
ence of which you must watch with the ut- 
most solicitude. The young of the already 
risen generation, and still more those of the 
rising one, have been trained to be helped, ra- 
ther than to help themselves or others. 

The Gospel principle requires us to help 
others rather than ourselves ; or rather to help 
ourselves in helping others. The young man 
and young woman should be early thrown 
upon their own resom'ces ; or in other words, 
required to help themselves all they can, and 
only to call on others for help when they have 
already done all they can for themselves. They 
should, in one word, be among the world of 
mankind, as our great Master was ; as those 
that serve. 

We laugh, as well we may, at the folly of 
our southern brethren, in training their fami- 
lies to be waited on, rather than to wait on 
others. And yet how much better are the 
effects of white slavery, in this respect, than 
black ? And for once that we laugh at others' 
folly in this respect, we ought to laugh twice, 
at l^ast, at oui own. 


Our fathers and mothers of former genera- 
tions had large famihes of eight, ten, twelve, 
or fifteen children, and their necessities com- 
pelled them to constant physical labor. The 
result was, that the children were compelled 
to take care of themselves, and either to sup- 
ply many of their wants by their own ex- 
ertions, or else have them unsupplied. Wliereas 
now, with smaller families and less occasion 
to employ every moment of time in procuring 
for them the necessaries of life, we not only 
furnish them with many luxuries, but also 
wait on them, and supply their every want by 
our own exertions. 

The consequences are that the present gene- 
ration, relieved by over-kind parents, from the 
necessity of helping themselves, or the family 
in which they reside, grow up Avith less energy 
of body or mind, and v/ith vastly less of com- 
mon benevolence than the generations past ; as 
well as a vast increase of selfishness. 

I have seen mothers of the present genera- 
tion, Avho not only perform all the house-work 
of their own families, and take care of from six 


to ten, or twelve children, but also do a 
thousand things — such are their habits of 
industry — ^which the young ought to perform 
for themselves. I have, in like manner, seen 
fathers who not only do every thing for them- 
selves, but also a great many unnecessary 
things for the young. And as the final result, 
their children having never learned to take 
care of themselves, much less to help others, 
are never good for any thing. And mil ess I 
greatly misapprehend the state of society, mat- 
ters are, in this respect, daily growing worse 
and worse. 

Great care will therefore be necessary, in 
selecting a friend, lest he should prove to be 
one of those very unfortunate young men, 
whose infatuated parents were in the habit of 
doing every thing for him, and under the idea 
of doing him a kindness, have done him a 
great and lasting injury. His habitual selfish- 
ness would be to you a som'ce of almost infi- 
nite vexation and trouble. 

Do not count with much confidence on your 
power to refonn him. It is certamly possible, 


as I have before said, that he is within the 
Dounds of reformation, but it is only possible. 
Selfishness, when made a part of us, as it were 
— bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh — is 
not so easily removed as you may imagine. 
I should nearly as soon hope to make a valu- 
able friend of a person already dead and buried, 
as of one who has had every thing done for 
him, instead of being thrown upon his o^Vn 

Observe, however, I say again, that in a 
world like this, you must not to expect or hope 
for absolute and unqualified perfection ; nor 
even for a very high degree of it. Enough, 
perhaps, if, in your search, you find what I call 
a capacity for friendship. Enough, perhaps, 
if you find the germs of what you desire. 
But these germs there must be ; they are in- 

Whenever you find a young man possessed of 
but the faintest degree of general benevolence — 
a desire to live for others, and to make others 
happy in all the circumstances of his life — 
who in all his every-day concerns is among 


men as " he that doth serve," and not as h^ 
that is to he served; and who remembers 

" Love, and love only, is the loan for love," 

and that he only is fit for the high office of 
friend, adviser, and companion of the female 
sex, wlio is ever ready to show himself friendly, 
remember you have found a gem. It may, 
perhaps, need a good deal of polishing ; it may 
even be better adapted to the society of others 
than of yourself ; still it is a gem, more price- 
less than those of Peru or Golconda. 

Not that the true spirit of Gospel benevolence 
is all you should desire in a companion and 
friend for life, though I cannot help thinking 
it would include every thing. Would not a 
character like that of our Saviour, include 
every qualification of true and lasting friend- 
ship ? And are there not those among us who 
are his disciples ? If so, they have at. least 
the germs of what is necessary — when more 
liighly cultivated — to be true and lasting ; — I 
should perhaps say everlasting friendship. 


But I have exhausted, and more than ex- 
hausted the space I had assigned myself for 
prehminaries ; and yet seem hardly to have 
begun to present my thoughts on this topic. 
In my next, I will endeavor to descend a little 
more into particulars. 



Under the general head of Benevolence, as I 
have said more than once already, we might 
include almost every other qualification for 
friendship, whether large or small. The in- 
dulgence of a single bad habit, without remorse 
or regret — I mean when it is known as such — 
conflicts most certainly with the laws of true 
benevolence. And yet it may not be amiss to 
speak of some of these habits separately, as 
either disqualifying us for conjugal friendship, 
or furnishing evidence of other disqualifications. 
Thus, no young man that is duly enlight- 
ened by the Gospel of Christ, and by the pub- 
lic sentiment, so as to see that the use of 
tobacco is not only offensive to a large portion 
of female society, but absolutely incompat- 


ible with the golden rule, which requires us 
to do to others as we would wish them in simi- 
lar circumstances to do to us, and yet persists 
in his foolish, not to say wicked habit, is fit for 
the friendship or even for the intimate society 
of a young woman. 

Now you can certainly detect this habit in 
a young man. He cannot conceal it, if he 
Avould ; at least without a degree of hypocrisy 
which would be, of itself, another disqualifica- 
tion for your friendship. I mean by this that 
you can certainly detect the habit, if you are 
as much in his society as the nature of the case 
requires. If his teeth, and breath, and perspi- 
ration do not reveal the secret, his clothes will. 
They retain the odor of this virulent narcotic 
with a most wonderful tenacity, and for a long 
time. But I hardly need say this to a young 
woman of New England. 

The use of alcohol, in such moderate quan- 
tities as are retained in small beer, and weak 
v/ines and cider, it may not be quite so easy 
to detect in the habits of a young man. And 
yet there are methods, of which you may law- 
fully avail yourself, which enable you to g-uess. 


Nor need you be very scrupulous about insti- 
tuting an inquiry on the subject, when there is 
strong circumstantial or hearsay evidence in 
the case. He who is likely to be offended by 
such a course, is as unworthy of your hand as 
he is unfit for your friendship. 

Slovenly habits in regard to person and 
dress, the keen eyes of young women will most 
certainly discover. I hardly need to dwell on 
this point, prone as you are to give this matter 
quite as much prominence as the nature of the 
case requires. Excuse me ; I do not mean to 
charge you or your sex with an unnecessary 
fastidiousness on this subject; for I hardly 
ki-iow whether the charge could be sustained. 
All I mean to say, is, that it is a thing to which 
the natural characteristics of your sex will in- 
sure sufficient attention. 

And yet it may not be amiss to caution you 
against deception in one particular. Certain 
young men who make, or would be glad to 
make high pretensions to literature, having 
imbibed an idea which has been current time 
immemorial, that great minds are often greatly 
negligent on the subject of dress ; and having 


found out yolir prevailing taste, will hope to in- 
gratiate themselves into your esteem by mere 
slovenliness. Perhaps the caution is unneces- 
sary to you ; though to some of your sex it 
might be highly pertinent and useful. 

Selfishness is nowhere more despicable 
than when, in order to deceive, it puts on the 
garb of benevolence. Here, most surely, the 
"livery of heaven" is stolen for the basest of 
purposes. But tliis abominable theft is some- 
times practised. There is a class of men who 
add to their claims to literature in general, that 
of philanthropy ; and strive to convince you 
that their love for you and the rest of what 
they regard as the ignorant herd, is propor- 
tioned to their disregard of all conventional 
rules, especially those which pertain to personal 
appearance and dress. 

In my Young Man's Guide, I have spoken 
with some freedom of slipshod women — not 
that I cared so much about the thing, in itself 
considered, as about the character which usu- 
ally accompanies it. Novv^, a slipshod charac- 
ter in man or woman, still seems to me con- 


temptible ; and it is but fair that I should say- 
so, even though it should convey no new idea 
to your own mind. It may do others good, 
through your influence. 

Straws, we are told, show which way the 
wind blows. Or in other words, little things 
aflbrd an index to the character. A young 
man who wears his shoes negligently, will be 
so much the more apt to be negligent about 
business, other things being equal. I say other 
things being equal — ^because such a remark is 
indispensable. This, other things being equal^ 
includes more than most people are aware. 

I will even go a step further, and say that a 
young man who manages not only his dress, 
but his ordinary business in a slipshod way, 
will be apt to manage the matter of friendship 
in a slipshod manner. Beware, therefore, in 
your selection, of one who may be slipshod for 

Cowper, in his Task, has much to say of 
the habit of exercising cruelty ; and takes for 
granted that it begins in cruelty to small ani- 
mals. He says : 


" I would not enter on my list of friends. 
Though grac'd with polished manners and fine sense, 
Yet wanting sensibility, the man, 
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm." 

Neither would I. Nor would I advise you to 
do so. Better have no friends, I had almost 
said, but God, that to have either part or lot 
with cruelty. A cruel young man will never 
make a delicate friend or a good husband. 

Avoid a friend who frets much. He may 
not fret at you, it is true ; and yet you can 
have no guarantee against such a result. Such 
things have been, and therefore may happen 

But when I say this, I ought to explain my 
meaning. There are two kinds of fretters. 
The first may be compared to Etna or Vesu- 
vius. He has an outburst occasionally; but 
when that is over, he may, for a time, be a 
pleasant companion, and even a valuable bo- 
som friend. The other has no outbursts, but 
is always fretful ; or at least he is never happy. 
He is always worrying, unless he sleeps ; and 
sometimes even then. 

This last is a very common cliaracteristic 


of tile people commonly called Yankees. Along 
with their many excellencies, they are greatly 
given to this species of fretfulness. It is too 
hot or too cold ; too rainy or too dry ; too clear 
or too cloudy — or what is about the same thing, 
it is likely to be so. Time, with them goes too 
fast or too slow j they have too much business 
or too little ; or though at present in circum- 
stances of health and comfort, they are dismally 
apprehensive of poverty, disease, or death. They 
are never happy ; and they contrive to have no 
one around them happy. 

Such a character, I would no more enter on 
my list of friends than Cowper's cruel man. 
Whatever may be your prepossessions in his 
favor, or your hopes of restoring him to earth 
and heaven, you will find him absolutely, and 
I fear endlessly, irreclaimable. Be exhorted 
then, I again say, to avoid him, as you would 
the plague or the cholera. 

You should also be on your guard agains . 
choosing for your friend one who does not love 
home. I grant, indeed, that much which is 
called love of home is merely instinctive. Stil> 
it is not to be despised. But there is a love of 


home which rises higher than all this. It w 
the love of home for the sake of the society — 
the intellectual and moral society — it affords * 
and the opportunities it affords of improving 
and elevating character. 

I have seen young men who only -valued 
home for the sake of its opportunities for self- 
indulgence and self-gratification. I refer not 
solely to indulgencies which would he deemed 
criminal ; but rather to another kind, little less 
selfish, yet at the same time, nearly as much 
at war with connubial and conjugal hap- 
piness. * 

Some young men, for example, whose soci- 
ety might charm you, and who might prefer 
your society and your friendship till it ceased 
to possess the charm of novelty, will never- 
theless, after the first moon or year, find the 
conversation of some beer-house or bar-room 
club more congenial to their feelings, and that 
ever raging desire, which prompts the inquiry: 
Who will show us any good ? Or, as in Athens 
of old, they will give up the milder, steadier 
excitements of home, to tell or hear at the club, 
or the corner, some new thing. 


Surely I need not caution you to avoid a 
mimic, or drolf, or buifoon. And yet I have 
known young women, with more than two- 
thhds as large a share of good sense as your 
own, most strangely deluded by such imps in 
the shape of men. I call them imps, for the 
want of a better name by which to express 
the contempt I feel for such detestable charac- 
ters. They please, for a time, if they do not 
even dazzle by their brilliancy ; but they are 
soon — too soon, alas, in most Instances — fomid 
to be hollow-headed. 

Mirth is well; but we should not be all 
mirth. Joking and punning may be well 
enough occasionally, but they soon pall. 
Laughing is better — though even this may be 
carried to an extreme. For to be all noise, and 
mirth, and fun, I say again, is to degrade our- 
selves. It lets us down too far for the sober 
realities of this life, and unfits us for the more 
solemn realities of the life which is to come. 

On one point I hope I shall not be misun- 
derstood. Laugh and grow fat, is an old 
maxim ; but like a part of the category of an- 
cient maxims, has meaning in it. Laughing, 


to a certain extent, is healthy. It is favorable 
to our own health, and also to tliat of others. 
It would be particularly so to you, with your 
temperament. Since, however, you find it so 
difficult to laugh, yourself, it is of very great 
importance that your friends should laugh, 
especially your principal friend — the individual 
with whom, of all others, you are most inti- 

Seek a friend who possesses, among other 
traits of excellence, an abundance of good 
sound common sense. Our young men of 
these days have almost every kind of sense, 
but common sense. — This is a rare article. 
Wit, learning, a good temper, and many more 
qualities, of which I have not yet spoken, are 
valuable ; but when bereft of good, sound' 
sense, they lose half their lustre. 

Do not choose for your friend, one who is 
governed solely by his feelings. Feeling is 
blind— there must be a helmsman to direct. He 
who does not ask his judgment much oftener 
than bhnd feeling, what he shall do, has not yet 
learned all he might learn, nor qualified him- 
self in the highest degree for usefulness. Or, 


if usefu. and happy now, he would be much 
more so, and much more valuable in the bonds 
of friendship, by making his head the helms- 

There are thousands of young men, for ex- 
ample — and I fear almost as many young wo- 
men as young men — who never ask their heads 
what they shall put in their stomachs. They 
go by custom, tradition, or habit — or by blind 
impulse or feeling. Worse, even, than all this ; 
when they are told, by the head, what is wrong 
for them, they utterly disregard the warnmg 

Suppose they are sitting at a public table, 
and somebody oifers them a doubtful dish, 
the head — the judgment — rejects it at once ; 
and the reply is, " No ; it does not agree 
Avith me." But others are using it ; the sight 
and smell are so many tempters to transgress 
their own rules — the stomach is clamorous — 
and they yield to its demands, in spite of their 
first best, and most sober judgment. 

Now the individual, man or woman, who 
cannot gain the victory over blind impulse or 
feeling, on such occasions as this, is but poorly 


prepared for the duties of friendship. He that 
cannot deny his own appetite, will hardly be 
willing to risk the danger of exposing your 
faults. However much he loves you, he will 
hardly be willing to hazard any thing to make 
you better. 

It is not self-denial, for the sake of self-de- 
nial, that makes a person valuable in friend- 
ship, so much as for the sake of the other ex- 
cellent traits which usually accompany it. A 
self-denying man is a man of energy, in all the 
circumstances in which he is placed. And no- 
where is energy more necessary than in conju- 
gal companionship and friendship. I could 
pity 3^ou in a thousand and one of the condi- 
tions to which conjugal life is liable ; but I 
know not whether there are many in which I 
should pity you more, than in being bound to 
a man of slipshod character and habits. 

When I began this letter, it was my inten- 
tion to finish a topic which may, perhaps, ere 
now, have become tiresome. But I have not 
yet done. You will hear from me, at least 
once morCj on the same subject. 



The body and mind, are so visibly and inti- 
mately connected, that it is almost in vain 
to look for high mental and moral qualifica- 
tions of any sort in a feeble, miserable, and 
crazy framework. Some of the phrenologists 
have carried this matter so far as to tell us, 
that as is the body, so is the mind and spirit; 
and that in all our attempts at improvement, 
either moral or intellejctual, not an iota of 
progress can be made any farther or faster, 
than we can improve the physical or material 

But while I do not feel disposed to affirm 
quite so much as the phrenologists, I am fully 
prepared to take very high ground in this par- 
licular; and to assert, that all endeavors at 


mental and moral progress, must be liable to a 
good deal of abatement, while the body is so 
sadly forgotten or neglected as it usually is. 

The old notioUj that ill health and sickness 
are favorable to moral growth and elevation, 
was a much more fatal error tha,n that of the 
phrenologists. For though God has most un- 
doubtedly contrived to educe good- from evil, 
and in certain cases, to make human suffering 
a means of human advancement, it is only as 
an exception to his general rule. To affirm 
otherwise, is, practically, to impeach the wis- 
dom of tlie Divine arrangement. But I have 
spoken of this before. 

Other things, then, being equal, a healthy 
friend is far preferable to one who is sickly. 
He is more cheerful — and cheerfulness, as it 
stands opposed to discontent, aud fretfulness, 
and moping melancholy, is a pearl of great 
price. His features are more prepossessing, 
not to say handsomer. For unsanctified sick- 
ness of every grade, like indulgence of the 
depressing passions, often knits the brow in 
frowns, and depresses the angles of the mouth, 
and converts externally an angel to a demon. 


It is peculiarly so with your sex — it is too fre- 
quently so with ours. 

I exhort you, then, to avoid in the selection 
of a friend, one who is sickly. Nevertheless, 
if your lot should be cast^ in spite of your best 
judgment and most strenuous efforts to pre- 
vent itj with one who is a sufferer from ill 
health, you must summon to your aid at once 
all your philosophy, as well as all your Chris- 
tianity. You must recollect, at least, the old 
vulgar couplet : 

" What can't be cured. 
Must be endured ;" 

and not only recollect it, but make the most 
of it. 

You will say : "But would you make much 
of mere beauty of form and feature ?" My 
reply is, I would not have it overlooked. Man- 
kind" are prone to extremes, in this particular, 
as well as many others. Because too much 
has been made of beauty, therefore, they re- 
solve to make nothing at all of it, but practi- 
cally to despise it. 

And so it has been with several other things 


as well as beauty. Because some have sought, 
in matrimony, for rank or fortune, it has been 
hastily concluded by many, in theory at least, 
that rank and fortune are to be despised. 

Let me sa}^, then, that while I might not go 
quite so far as to exalt beauty to a virtue, yet 
it is not to be despised, where every thing else 
is in harmony therewith. The pure in heart, 
— and such I humbly trust will be the charac- 
ter of the great mass of mankind, some tens of 
thousands of years hence — should be as beau- 
tiful as pure. 

And when cheerfulness of temper, and the 
sunshine of constant smiles, are the natural 
result of fine health, high mental cultivation, 
and a large share of moral excellence, and all 
other qualifications for friendship are such as 
you desire, it may be well for you to recollect 
the consequences to those around you, and to 
coming generations. 

Young women are always reluctant to take 
this view of the subject. But wherefore ? Is 
it not useful ? You would certainly do what 
is right in this, as well as in every thing else. 
But the great and paramount obligation to live 


for Others and for God, as well as for yourself, 
should not permit you to shuffle it off. It must 
be fairly looked at in the light of eternity, no 
less than that of physiology, or mere friendship. 

There should not be too great a disparity in 
regard to age. Dr. Johnson, a British author, 
recommends the 'difference of nearly one whole 
septenniad. He regards the age of twenty- 
eight in our sex, and twenty-one or twenty- 
two in your own, as on the whole to be pre- 
ferred. I think that seven years of difference 
are quite as many as are allowable by the laws 
of physiology. Two or three are sometimes 
sufficient. What is wanted, in this respect, is 
just difference enough to secure a correspond- 
ence of taste, sentiment, &c., in those particu- 
lars, in regard to which age is ever chang- 
ing us. 

As to the question of early or late marriage, 
in the abstract, I have little to say, though 
much might be said. I will just quote from 
the same English author, to whose views I 
have already directed your attention by the 
preceding paragraph ; and add a single com- 
ment. He says : 


" Tn respect to early marriage, as far as it 
concerns the softer sex, I have to observe t?iat 
for every year- at which the hymeneal knot is 
tied before the age of twenty-one, there will be 
on an average, three years of premature decay 
of the corporeal fabric, and a considerable ab- 
breviation of the usual range of human exist- 

Thus, a young woman, according to Dr. J., 
who marries at fifteen — six years too early — 
loses her beauty, and becomes prematurely old 
eighteen years earlier for it ; besides consider- 
ably shortening her life. And the same is true, 
in proportion, for every year at which marriage 
takes place under twenty-one. Should not 
this view, though somewhat modified in its 
application to a new country, like the United 
States, have weight with all those who value 
life and happiness ? 

One thing I had almost forgotten. In selecting 
a companion and friend for the journey of life, 
it will be highly desirable to look carefully for 
all those excellencies and good habits, of which 
you are conscious of a deficiency in yourself. 
This will be the most certain means you could 

"physical clualifications. 201 

possibly secure for your own progress in all 
that is great, good, and godlike ; and hence, 
one of the greatest blessings which friendship 
can possibly bestow. 

It may indeed happen, that you do not well 
understand what your own defects of character 
are. But so far as you do understand yourself, 
and indeed so far as light from any other source 
can come to your aid, in season or out of sea- 
son, do not fail to make use of it, in the parti- 
cular direction to which I now refer. A course 
of conduct this, which you will never regret 
while your life lasts — or while the existence 
of those who are dependent on you continues. 

Need I dwell on this subject ? Need I, in 
writing to a young woman of discretionary 
years, like yourself, go into particulars ? And 
yet if it should not instruct, it may amuse you. 
Amusement, you know, is sometimes as neces- 
sary as any thing else. 

Thus, suppose you were given, much more 
than you are, to habitual melancholy. The 
greater this tendency, then, the greater the 
necessity that he whom you select as your con- 
stant companion, should be of the opposite 


character and tendency. I have spoken of the 
general benefits of habitual cheerfulness al- 
ready — here, then, are some of its more parti- 
cular benefits. 

Suppose you are given to speculation-^to 
dealing in mere abstractions. The^ world you 
occupy is an ideal world. High up in the air, 
your feet have no terra firma^ any more than 
Noah's dove had. ' Now it is of immense im- 
portance, in suxh a case, that you have the 
constant society and counsels of one who lives 
in this world, much more than in Utopia. 

You may want experience in the great school 
of human nature. You may have studied men 
and things as they should be, rather than as 
they are. Frequent disappointments, more- 
over, may have forced upon your own mind 
the melancholy conclusion that you are so. 
How necessary, then, in your friend, the coun- 
terbalancing qualification of a thorough ac- 
quaintance with man as he is — with all his 
perversity and depravity. 

Perhaps you are deficient in what the phre- 
nologists call hope. I know indeed you are so. 
It is not so much a want of confidence, or e\^eii 


of hope in God, or in the ultimate triumphs of 
truth and hohness, as a kind of skepticism 
which pertains to truth and right here. You 
have hopes of a heaven beyond the skies ; while 
you have neither hope nor expectation of much 
improvement in the condition of this world, 
either as regards the interests of mind or 

Seek, then, the society of one who will not 
only " hope on, and hope ever," but will en- 
courage you to do the same — one who not only 
has hope in a heaven above, but in one here 
below — one who believes, that eye hath not 
seen, ear heard, or heart conceived of the things 
which God hath reserved, even for this world, 
saying nothing of the superior glories of the 
world above. Such a friend would double and 
treble the joys of your existence. 



On the subjects of Friendship and Marriage, 
as means of enabling you to fulfil your mis- 
sion, I have dwelt so long, that I must now 
draw to a close. A few general rules for youi 
conduct, are all that I will add. They will 
relate chiefly to traits of character, in which 
friends in conjugal life should agree. 

1. In regard to the importance and value 
of home, as a means of mutual improvement 
and elevation — it is superior in this particular 
to every other .school which life aflbrds. 
Some indeed, among us, believe that we are 
not only benefited most — the great mass of us, 
when we are striving and laboring to benefit 
others ; but the greater our sphere of activity, 


- — the greater the number for whom we labor, 
pray, &c. — the greater, other things being 
equal, is our progress. Others, however, be- 
lieve that the more we concentrate our influ- 
ence — the fewer the persons for whom we la- 
bor — the greater the aggregate of good done 
both to them and to ourselves. By extending 
our influence, they suppose we not only dilute, 
but weaken it. 

Now, although it is not for me to settle so 
great a question, beyond the possibility of any 
farther debate, yet I am constrained to say, 
that of late years I have strongly inclined to 
the latter opinion. Hence it is, that I attach 
so much importance to the home school, and 
to home influences. But the rule I wish to lay 
down on this subject, is, that whatever may be 
the differing views of individuals in conjugal 
life, on this point there must be practical con- 
cession. You must not even do what in other 
circumstances is highly meritorious, that is, 
<-'- agree to differ f^ for you must absolutely 

Not indeed that you must act the part of the 
hypocrite, either of you, by seeming to beheve 


what you do not and cannot. All I mean, is, 
that you must agree to act in the same gene- 
ral direction. I will also add, that if you agree 
to place the same value on the family that I 
do, you Avill be great gainers by it in the end.* 

2. There must be entire agreement in regard 
to the necessity of having some general plan, 
both for your own conduct and the general 
regulation of your family. If one believes in 
a plan and the other does not, and no conces- 
sion is made, either temporarily or permanent- 
ly, is there not danger of perpetual collision ? 

This seems to me a matter of immense im- 
portance. You, for example, if I understand 
your views correctly, desire to live by rule or 
system ; Avhile others think a systematic life, 
especially in the family, is mere slavery. Now, 
can two walk together, unless they are agreed 
in this matter ? How can they ? I should be 

* This idea does not at all conflict with the general opi- 
nion of a class, or of classes of public teachers, whose office 
it is to instruct large numbers. On the contrary, it confirma 
and strengthens it. 


almost ready to say, it were better to have no 
plan than to have one which fetters, embar- 
rasses, or enslaves either party. 

3. Closely connected with the preceding rule 
is another. There must be a similarity of views 
in regard to the general supervision and gov- 
ernment of a family. Thus, if one of the 
heads of the family believes in a rigid disci- 
pline, and in the occasional infliction of corpo- 
real punishment, while the other believes that 
the same great ends can be secured by mild- 
ness and suasion ; and if neither is ready to 
yield, is it not manifest that there must be such 
collision as will jeopardize, if not absolutely 
destroy all family peace and happiness ? 

It has been said, " Whatever is best admi- 
nistered, is best." Now I do not admit the 
truth of this maxim, merely because it is old ; 
but old or new, it has truth in it. And, for 
my own part, I should prefer almost any sys- 
tem of government, lax or severe, of fear or of 
love, to one in which the parties were at va- 
riance. Mere suasion, though I should dread 
its final issues, would not be so bad, as suasion 


on the one part, and martial discipline on the 

4. Seek a friend whose religious opinions, in 
the main, resemble your own. I say this, 
however, not because some latitude of opinion 
is not admissible on this, as well as on all 
other subjects ; but because it usually turns 
out that in the intimacy of conjugal life, there 
will be enough of difference to secure a full 
and free discussion of all important topics, 
when the parties set out nearly together. 
Thinking people — and I trust you would never 
select for a companion in married life the tin- 
thinking — who set out together in matters of 
opinion, in religion, politics, &c., are liable at 
best to diverge greatly before they come to the 
end of life's journey. * * 

5. An entire agreement is desirable, if not 
indispensable, in regard to many of the smaller 
things, so to call them, of human life. My 
attention has been repeatedly called to the 
customs of families in regard to early rising. 
Small as the thing, in itself considered, may 


seem to be, it has a great deal to do with do- 
mestic peace and fehcity. 

I have seen famiUes where one party wished 
to rise, always, at a certain hour, while the 
other only wished to rise at such an hour as 
blind feeling might dictate. But I never knew 
entire harmony in these families. There was 
always something wrong. 

True, I have known the female head of the 
family submit to what seemed to her like the 
stern decree of the other party ; but I never 
knew her to do it cheerfully ; nor did I ever 
know the results to be favorable. Children 
are early and permanently injured by it, and 
that inevitably. 

It oftener happens, however, that there is 
not so much as a temporary acquiescence in 
the strong demands of the other party. The 
husband, for example, will continue to rise 
early ; and the wife, with as much or more of 
pertinacity, v/ill continue to rise late. And, as 
a consequence, there will be murmuring and 
complaining — crimination and recrimination. 
And as example is more etfectual than pre- 
cept, so the miseducation of the family prepares 


the next generation for the same unhappmess 
to which themselves are aheady subjected. 

Now I am a strong friend to early rising. 
They who rise early, and go about their cus- 
tomary employments with energy, seem to re- 
ceive an impulse, in the consciousness of set- 
ting out right, that often lasts the whole day. 
While they who rise late, often appear to get 
behind their day's work, and to fret themselves 
in vain all day to overtake it. 

And yet, I must honestly say that it can 
hardly be worse in its moral influence on the 
family, to have both parties, by mutual concur- 
rence, lie late, than to wage a never ending war 
about it. Let this matter then, small as it may 
seem, be attended to, and in due season. 

I would not indeed say to you. Never enter 
into the sacred bonds to which I allude, till 
you have found one for your friend whose 
habits are in harmony with your own ; for 
if there is a general determination to do right ^ 
almost any change wdiich is seen to be impor- 
tant can and will be made. But I do say that 
it is highly desirable that the habits of the par- 
ties should be alike from the first. 


6. So in regard to the matter of eating and 
drinking. It were desirable that the habits of 
two persons about to enter into the bonds of 
matrimonial friendship, should be as nearly- 
alike as possible. For as it is with regard to 
differences of opinion on many subjects, so it 
is with regard to dietetic habits ; — if you set 
out together, there is room enough to diverge 
before you get through life. 

Still I have hope that no young woman pos- 
sessed of but half the good sense which falls to 
your lot, would make herself or others miserable 
for the sake of insisting on having her own way. 
There must be concession, greater or less, in 
matrimony, on this and fifty other points, or 
happiness if not friendship is at an end. 

7. In my remarks under our fifth rule, I 
have said, " If there is a determination to do 
right," &c. Now it is of very great — I had almost 
said paramount — importance that we should not 
only hunger and thirst after truth and right- 
eousness, but that we should also conform to 
the truth with the greatest promptitude, when- 
ever it is known. Or, in other words, there 


can be no true and Christian friendship in 
matrimonial life, unless the parties hold them- 
selves bound to yield, always, to convic- 

You have read, in a work of the highest au- 
thority, " You shall know the truth, and the 
truth shall make you free," or language of the 
same general import. Now I would not give 
much for that truth which does not make free ; 
nor for that bosom friendship, under which the 
parties are not steadfastly determined to acc 
according to their sober convictions of truth and 

Still less, if possible, would I give for that 
sort of friendship, which, while it retains the 
namej has so lost the spirit, as to be unwilling 
to be corrected, or reminded of faults. This 
correction of each other's faults, let me say 
once for all, instead of passing them over from 
week to week, or from year to year — perhaps, 
what is still worse, apologizing for them — is 
one of the highest duties of friendship every 
where, especially in conjugal life. And they 
who have not learned to endure all this — nay 


more, to be thankful for the aid thus afforded 
them in the great work of self-progress and 
self-purification — are not yet fit for friendship's 
most exalted privileges and rewards. 



You see, from seyerai letters I have written 
vou, how Diuch importance I attach to conju= 
gal friendship. No other topic has occupied 
half the space which I have given to this. 
And I assure you I do not regret it. 

I can think of but one objection which you 
will have against the course my remarks have 
thus taken ; and even that, on account of 
my age^ and the general respect which you 
entertain for me, you will hardly dare to haz- 
ard. I will therefore make it for you. 

You are not ignorant, wholly so, of human 
nature. You are not ignorant that it is wo- 
man's nature to love. You know, better than 
I do, that instinct and reason miite to render 
her confiding, dependent, and sympathetic ; 


5L1.5 !ejd her mind and heart to friendship. 
You also know that she is a great discerner of 
chartfcCter — that she often understands, by a 
kind of intuition, what it would take our -own 
sex a loDg time to discover in other ways. 
How, then, you will incline to ask, — how is it 
that I can hope to instruct and guide you in 
this matter ? 

Be it so, however, that I have taught you 
nothing new. JB?e it that you have been look- 
ing, these many years, for just such a friend as 
I have described, but have been wholly un- 
successful in the search. Is it of no conse- 
quence to see youT own judgment confirmed 
by one of an opposite sex ? Is it nothing to 
have the testimony of others confirm the de- 
cisions of your own mind and conscience ? 

But I have taken up my pen this time to ad- 
dress you on a subject somewhat different from 
any thing on which I have yet written — a 
subject on which I may perhaps suggest a new 
train of thought to your mind. 

Although you have hitherto failed to secure 
the sympathizing hand of connubial friend- 
ship, yet you have too much good sense to be 


discouraged. You will not lose your confi- 
dence in our sex. You will need all the bless- 
ings which love and sympathy and friend- 
ship can confer, as long as you live ; and the 
longer you live, the greater will be the necessity. 

Suppose, by the way, you are to be ad- 
dressed by an individual who seems to be all 
that you could expect in this world. Faults he 
may indeed possess ; but then you call to your 
mind, that for absolute perfection, here below, 
you are not to look. In a word, you perceive 
what you have never perceived before in the 
nature and character of the regard you have 
for him. 

And as every thing was voluntary on his 
part — no overtures or solicitations having ever 
been made, by you or your friends, directly or 
indirectly— you have reason, as you think, for 
believing your own sentiments and affections 
are reciprocated. You have reason to believe 
that Heaven will smile propitiously on your 
union for life. 

Time passes on, and passes pleasantly. No 
positive engagement is made, for no outward 
or formal bonds seem necessary. Formalities 


would even seem to weaken what lies deeper 
than mere externals. In soul and spirit you 
are united already ; not for time merely, but, 
so to speak, for eternity. 

Suddenly, however, and without the slight- 
est known cause for a change of feeling, his 
visits are discontinued. You wonder why you 
hear no more the sound of his footsteps, nor 
receive any epistolary expl anation. Is he sick ? 
Surely, were it so, you would hear of it. Is he 
absent ? Why then, were you not apprized of 
the intended journey ? A still more important 
inquiry steals over your soul occasionally ; but 
you thrust it from you. You cannot bear to 
harbor it for a moment. You meditate by day, 
and dream by night ; but, alas ! neither your 
day dreams nor your night visions are realized. 

What you dare not believe to be possible, 
however, soon grows into a sober reality. He 
has indeed left you forever. Not for any as 
signable reason, except one which would be 
last in the avowal, that his own feelings have 
changed. His only apology is that he believes 
you are not adapted to each other, or that 
you are too good for him ; but the real cause 


is that his own love has grown cold, and he 
views things through a very different medium. 

In these circumstances, you will be involved 
in a trial more severe than your soul has ever 
yet dreamed of. And in the bitterness of your 
agony you will, at times, be ready to anathe- 
matize half the whole race of man. Or perhaps 
with Job you will say, "let the day perish where- 
in I was born." The agony will be extorted at 
first, from the fear that you have been grossly 
deceived. That smooth tongue, you will say, 
never could have meant all it affirmed. You 
will be more astonished at what you suppose 
to be cool, calculating villany, than at your 
own loss. 

^Vhen, however, you find that there was 
less of villany than of folly, though your in- 
dignation may subside, yet your anguish will 
increase. You have fastened your affections 
on an object, and cannot so easily disengage 
them; whereas the object in question has 
only vacillated, like the needle from the pole. 
He loved you yesterday, to-day his love has 
disappeared. There may be no rival ; the 
fountains of what seemed to you a stream 


of permanent exhaustless friendship are com- 
pletely dried up. 

And now the agony is that you are alone 5 
and alone in a sense and with an emphasis of 
which you never before had any conceptiorL 
Before you had a friend, you knew less his 
value; but now that an ostensible friendship, 
has awakened to activity and nurtured intq' 
growth the germs which God in his providence* 
has planted deeply in female nature, you begin 
to feel what a wilderness this world is, when 
travelled alone. 

You are now in a situation which requires 
all the aid of all the philosophy and religion 
you can possibly summoiL It is a situation 
which, though imaginary, of course, in the 
present instance, has been realized — alas, too 
often. It is a condition to whicli, in the pres- 
ent state of society, the miseducation of both 
sexes sometimes dooms your sex, and by means 
of which they sometimes sink into insignifi- 
cance, if not imbecility. 

God grant, my dear friend, that such trials 
as those I have here faintly portrayed, may 
never fall to your lot. Perhaps I do not hope 


wholly in vain. You are now quite beyond 
your " teens," and begin to be something moie 
than a mere girl ; I hope your heart will never, 
at this age, be trifled with. 

But suppose the worst should happen — the 
I worst, I mean, of what I have portrayed. You 
have indeed been ill treated, and the agent of 
this ill treatment deserves punishment. Still 
I do not advise you to indulge a vindictive 
spirit. It will do no good to yourself or to 

; It has sometimes been deemed advisable to 
institute a legal process, and punish the agres- 
sor by taking away his money. But I have 
supposed a case, in which there is no ground 
for such a process ; or at best none but that 
which is doubtful. Besides, every woman of 
genuine delicacy will shrink from such a 
course, were it likely to be successful. 

The truth is, the crime committed will 
bring with it a measure of punishment, whether 
you interfere or not. It may cause painful 
days and sleepless nights. Or, if otherwise 
— ^if there is not conscience enough to cause 
pangs — you may. solace yourself in the full 


¥1 1 


belief that your loss is not so great, after all, 
as you may, in the first moments of disappoint- 
ed feeling — ^perhaps mortified pride — have 

Indeed I can hardly conceive of a case of 
this kind in which a young woman is not a 
gainer, rather than a loser, would she but con- 
sider the matter rightly. For a young man 
who will thus vacillate, would make but a 
miserable friend. One disqualification seldom 
goes alone, especially a disqualification of this 
sort. In truth, you ought to congratulate 
yourself on your escape, rather than grieve oh 
account of your supposed loss. 

Do you say that the more you think on the 
subject the worse you feel — and that you can- 
not rise above it? I do not believe it. You 
are a woman of energy in other matters ; surely 
you can bring your energies J;p bear on the pre- 
sent case. You have not hitherto sunk under 
your trials, why should you do so now ? 

You cannot rise above it ! Indeed ! but 
what then ? What will you do ? Will you 
sink under it ? One of these results must fol- 
low. There is no medium — such is human 


nature. They that do not sustain themselves 
7nust sink. 

You will say, perhaps, But how can I help 
it ? I reply. Have you made the trial ? And 
have you been thorough? Do not say you 
have no strength to do that which you have 
not yet attempted. Besides, she who does 
what she can in a trial of this kind, may look 
for aid to the completion of a work that proves 
too hard for mere human natme. When you 
have exhausted all the means afforded by 
earth and heaven, it may be time to talk about 

Sink under your trials ! Have you thought 
what this means, and how much it means ? 
Can you bear the thought of becoming a mere 
block, a drivelling idiot, or a raving, infuriated 
maniac? Do you not shudder at the 'bare 
thought of the possibility, when you sink, as 
you call it, of having reason desert her throne, 
as Nebuchadnezzar's did — and of a condition 
much worse than his ? 

Do you say that your trials have thrown a 
gloom over every surrounding object ; that the 
face of nature is divested of its accustomed beau- 


ties; that to you no sun shines, no flowers 
bloom, nor birds sing; and that the very 
heavens gather blackness around your path, 
leaving creation not indeed a mere chaos, but 
worse than a chaos, a mighty blank ? 

This indeed were a severe trial ; but worse 
trials have been endured. The mind has been 
awakened, ere now, to conscious guilt as well 
as suffering. Thank God, then, and take 
courage. Thank God, that though you sufier, 
you retain your innocence. Thank him that 
you are the injured — and not the one who has 
inflicted the blow. 

You ask, it may be, what you are to do — a 
mere solitary — a mere cipher in society — un- 
cared for, except by a few wretches who love 
to point at human misery to increase it — for- 
saken by man, and you fear by God himself. 

Not so fast. You are not so entirely forsa= 
ken as you suppose. There may be more of 
sympathy for you than you imagine. If it is 
quite true, that 

" Full many a flower is bom to blush unseen," 

it is not true that many of the human species 




are born to an end so undesirable. You were 
born for a godlike purpose. I have in other 
letters pointed out, as well as I could, that pur- 
pose. Rouse, then, to the fulfilment of your 
mission. You have done much ; but there re- 
mains much for you to do. 

True, you are as yet alone. You are a 
stranger and a pilgrim. But is not this, after 
all, the condition of humanity ? Are we not 
all strangers and pilgrims and sojourners upon 
the earth ? 

In your lonely moments, when thinking of 
the condition of humanity, without friendships 
— when disposed to sink under the considera- 
tion that the world is but a wilderness of woe — 
you have, or may have, at least one consolation. 
There is a world to come, of which no one can 
deprive you, except your own sinful self, where 
friendship flourishes in eternal purity. Should 
you avail yourself of the privileges and joys, 
which that upper world proflers you, will you 
not be repaid, a thousand-fold, for any suffer- 
ings, however great, which pertain to this pro- 
bationary state? 

I said, however, your work was not yet 


donej even here. Would to God that young 
women were not so much inchned to feel as if 
there was nothmg for them to do, in the soHtary 
state. Grant that the conjugal condition 
doubles the efficiency of man or woman, and 
more than doubles it — Avhat then? Are we 
not bound, still, to do all we can without it ? 

And is there an individual to be found 
among us who has done all the good she can, 
even in a restricted sphere, by kind actions, 
words and looks, by the thousand and one 
forms, in which woman is able to become every 
where, not merely a missionary, but a guardian 
angel ? They, who say, with so much impa- 
tience, Alas ! what good can I do ? have not 
enough considered, as I fear, what doing good 

In future letters I hope to show — whether 
the knowledge be of particular consequence to 
you or not — that what I have said in the last 
paragraph is something more than imaginary 
— and that guardian angels, need not always 
be invisible. But I have one word, before I 
close, on another subject. 

What I have to say, relates to yourself. 


While you would not be injured yourself — sin- 
cere as you are in your search for friendship — 
do not for one moment allow yourself to injure 
others. Remember the golden rule of doing to 
them as you would that they should do to 

I say this, not that I really believe you have 
the least disposition to act the coquette ; but 
because such a disposition is abroad among 
your seXj and because I am not quite certain 
you would be proof against its temptations. It 
is not only wrong, but it is mean. 

What though it is common and fashionable? 
What though it is gratifying to vanity ? Are 
you, therefore, justified in using it ? Not by 
any means. Beware, therefore. Avoid even 
the first steps in the road that leads to it. 



" Who will show us any good ?" One of the 
best discourses I have ever heard was founded 
on this text. It took for granted what every 
reflecting person already knows, that all man- 
kind are seeking for happiness, in some way or 
other ; but that the far greater part seek it in 
the wrong way. That instead of seeking to 
become holy, as a means of being happy, they 
grasp directly at happiness, and therefore gen- 
erally miss it. 

Holiness of person and character, by leading 
us to do good — to bring forth much fruit, as 
the Saviour expresses it — is what is most need- 
ed among us. Let those, then, who would 
find true and lasting good, seek to be holy, and 
to do good. In any event, let those who seek 


good, fully understand that the shortest way 
to obtain it, is by doing. 

You may do good, I know, as a mere pas 
sion, or pastime; though this is not usuaL 
Besides, who would not greatly prefer that the 
world should be made better in this way, than 
in no way at all ? Would that doing good were 
a pastime with every body ! 

Franklin appears to have had such a passion 
for doing good, as made it with him, almost a 
recreation. He caught the spirit of it from 
reading Dr. Cotton Mather's "Essays to do 
Good ;" a capital work, which, by the way, I 
wish you would peruse carefully, if you have 
not already done it. 

Of course, it is not for me to say that Frank- 
lin was not moved to this work by Divine 
influences, or rather by the love of holiness for 
its own sake, though it is not generally so con- 
sidered. But be this as it may have been, he 
appears to have been fond of the work, and to 
have been quite at home in it. 

One of the best practical books on this sub- 
ject is a work by Rev. Jacob Abbott, entitled, 
" The Way to do Good." Had this excellent 


'xian never written any other work, he would 
lave been a pubhc benefactor. Read this, 
dso ; your fondness for his other works is such 
that I trust you will need no urging, in this 

Another work, by the Rev. Pharcellus 
Church, entitled " The Philosophy of Benevo- 
lence ;" and another, still, by Dr. Dick, on " Cov- 
etousness," are worthy of your attention. You 
can hardly fill your soul too full of this great 
subject. It is high as the heavens, what canst 
thou do? 

In regard to all the books I have seen on 
doing good, except the Bible, there is one cap- 
ital defect. Mr. Abbott's is, however, the least 
exceptionable. They teach us the importance 
of doing good plainly enough, and urge the 
subject upon us strongly enough ; but they 
leave almost untouched the science of it. The 
science of Philanthropy as a science, is, as yet, 
a desideratum. 

I wish I had time and room to enter at once 
upon this great subject. Indeed, I am not 
without the hope, that in my next two or three 
letters — should I live to write them — I may 


make a beginning. But this will be about all. 
Meanwhile, I must be permitted to finish this 
communication by a few more very general re- 

Some have been disgusted with those who 
called themselves doers of good, because there 
was mingled, in their efforts, more or less of 
display, or what the Phrenologists call love of 
approbation. Thus, I have seen a man who 
made loud and large pretensions, who wore 
gold spectacles, and who seemed to take special 
pains to have the world know it. 

Now, while I am fully conscious that doers 
of good, in every form, should avoid even the 
appearance of evil, I am not quite sure that we 
ought not to expect a spice of vanity, if nothing 
worse, in what they do ; or even a few of the 
swellings of pride. The approbation of others, 
moreover — when we cannot aim any higher — 
is not to be wholly despised. Still, as fast as 
we can, we ought to learn to do the good we 
do, for the pleasure of it, and for the benefits it 
confers on others, and even ourselves; or what 
is a higher motive still, for the desire of pleas- 
ing God, our heavenly Father. 


I wish to say again, (see Letter XII.) that 
one great blessedness of doing good, consists 
in the fact that, after all the good it does to 
others, it blesses the individual who does it, 
much more, as a general rule, than any body 
else. The great Gospel principle, " It is more 
blessed to give than to receive," has for ages 
been admitted — indeed, who, in any age, ever 
disputed it? — but how seldom has it been 
practically acted upon, and carried into daily 
life ! One reason for this is, that it has not 
been miderstood, in its nature. 

For how is it that doing good operates to 
make us better while we do it 7 Dr. Dwidit 


says, " Doing good produces love ;" and again, 
" We love those to whom we do good, more 
than we love those who do good to us." Here, 
as it seems to me, is the true answer to the in- 
quiry. Doing good creates love towards the 
object for whom we labor. And hence the 
more good we do, the more we love. And the 
more we love, the more our hearts are made 

In truth, it has often occurred to me that 
doing good is the cause or source of a much 


greater proportion of the love — instinctive love 
always excepted — which we have for our fellow 
creatures, than most people are aware. Parental 
love, and even conjugal love, if they do not 
originate in this way, are most certainly greatly 
increased by it. 

Have YQu. not seen, for example, a doting 
parent, most fond of some bed-ridden or con- 
sumptive or idiotic child, for whom he has done 
almost as much as for all the rest of his family ? 
And how will you account for it so well as on 
this great principle 7 

This is not— I repeat — to deny the force of 
instinctive or impulsive love, nor to say that 
even this sort of love is not increased in the 
same way as the other — at least to some 
extent. Nor do I say that it is not blessed to 
receive good as well as to communicate it. All 
I contend for is, that it is more blessed to give 
than to receive, and that facts prove it. 

Mankind seem, indeed, to suppose that all, 
or nearly all, of blessedness in this world — and 
still more in the world to come — consists in re- 
ceiving good, rather than in doing it. At least 
they practice as if they thought so. I know 


as I have already admitted, that they profess to 
beheve in the Christian doctrines of benevolence 
in theory ; and this will account for the fact, 
that their theory and practice are perpetually 
at war ; and that they miss half the hap- 
piness they might otherwise secure and enjoy. 

You, my friend, are still young. You have 
not seen quite half the years sometimes allotted 
to our race. You have the world, as it were, 
before you. The great doctrine, " It is more 
blessed to give than to receive," is therefore a 
matter of everlasting importance to you. It 
is of importance to me, old as I am — but it is 
still more so to you. 

Not that life would not be worth possessing, 
were the order of things reversed, and were 
the greater part of your blessedness to have its 
origin in the receipt of good, instead of its 
communication. Still you would have far less 
of motive to action in that case, as a female 
than you now have. 

When a young woman, whose eyes are be- 
ginning to be opened to the condition of this 
world, and especially to the world within, (and 
she begins to feel as if, in view of so much to 


be done for herself and for others, she could 
do nothmg,) first gets a glimpse of the practical 
eflects of true benevolence — that charity which, 
as Shakspeare says, is twice blessed — she 
seems to be introduced, as it were, to a new- 
world. Instead of sitting all the day idle, or 
mourning over her secluded condition, she goes 
to work. 

And the more she does, the more she finds 
to do. Had she a hundred hands, and half as 
many heads, she would soon find ample em- 
ployment for them all. Nay, instead of feeling 
as if she had little to do but to drag out the 
remnant of a short life somehoiv^ she will 
almost wish she had a dozen lives of a thou- 
sand years each. 

A thousand years of life ! Why, what is 
that, as a season for doing good ? And yet we 
may begin the work in a much shorter period. 
We may begm it, in a very few years. In- 
deed, is it not the great business of this life to 
prepare to do good ? 

I know well, that some people regard the 
future state as a passive condition — a quiescent 


State. At most they expect to expend it in acts 
of what are usually called worship. But is it 
so? That such worship will be included, 
there may be no doubt ; but is it not the Divine 
plan, that if we have happiness we must work 
for it, and work hard too ? 

What is the whole gospel plan of salvation 
but to rescue us from folly and selfishness, and 
their natural and necessary consequences, and 
to place us in a condition where we may be 
eternally benevolent — where, like cherub and 
seraph, we - may fly with everlasting speed, in 
our efibrts to spread blessedness and be blessed ? 

Go forward then, my dear sister, in the 
sublime work of co-operating with the Creator 
and Redeemer of human souls, in spreading 
everlasting blessedness as fast and as far as pos- 
sible. Do not delay one moment. If much 
of your life has run to waste already, see that 
no more of it does so. They have their work 
half done, who have it well begun. See that 
you begin it immediately. 

Do not labor for pay. Reward will come, but 
it will be in the form of an increased capacity 


to be useful. Expect to work, and work, and 
Avork on, while immortality endures ; and re- 
joice that in this way you may rise, in due 
time, where neither cherub nor seraph has yet 



We come now to methods— ways and means, 
rather — of doing the good we may meditate. 
And in pursuance of our subject, let us con- 
sider, first, a species of angelic work which the 
Scripture characterizes by the phrase, " pulling 
them out of the fire,"-— the fire, of course, 
which is enkindled by vice and immorality. 

I knew a female not long since, in one 
of our populous eastern towns, who, though 
far enough from afiiuence, and at the head of 
a large family, contrived to spend a portion of 
almost every day in plucking souls and bodies 
from the fires of lust, appetite and passion; 
especially the former. 

Say not that you are situated in a com- 

munfty where little is to be done in this way ; 


for I grant it in the outset. Nevertheless, 1 
may succeed, before I close, in showing yoUy 
that you have no occasion to be idle, even in 
this part of the Master's vineyard. 

The woman I have mentioned above would 
go in pursuit of good to be done. Now you 
may find work of this idnd to do, if you stay 
at home, or you may not. But she, I say 
again, went in pursuit of it. And so did the 
great Example of doing good. He did not 
remain at home — though he had one so ex- 
cellent. He descended from the skies "to 
wretched man." 

I have sometimes wished our churches would 
make it a business to employ one or more 
missionaries of this kind — lay missionaries I 
might call them — and set them to doing just 
such work as our Saviour would do in the same 
circumstances. It would be of incalculable 
value to them as a means of saving both souls 
and bodies. 

But you need not v/aii for any appointment 
of this sort. You have a commission from the 
great Head of the Church already, as every 
woman has.. If you know of any who are 


miserable, or in daily and hourly danger of 
becoming so, within your reach, you can visit 
and do something for them. At least, you can 
make the attempt, and that is worth something. 

It may be well for you, before you set out, 
to read the latter part of the twenty-fifth chap- 
ter of Matthew. Observe, while you read it, 
that though you are not to be rewarded for 
your works, yet the award is to be in a pro- 
portion to their magnitude. Your reward is 
according to your works ; and so is that of 
every other disciple. 

Observe, moreover, what it is which consti- 
tutes a disciple. It is not saying Lord, Lord. 
It is not holding an orthodox creed. It is not 
belonging to an orthodox church. All this 
may mdeed be well ; but it goes for nothing 
alone. There is hunger to be appeased — of 
body or soul. There is thirst to be allayed. 
There are strangers to be taken in, or in some 
way aided. There are bodies or souls, or both 
of them, to be clothed. There may also be 
the sick or the prisoner to relieve. 

How is it possible for an individual, who 
reads this chapter, and believes it to be the 



word of God, to feel as if there was nothing 
for her to do ? But I forget that I am talking 
to you just now, of a particular kind of doing 
good, which I have called pulling out of the 

Are there, then, no public houses, within 
half a dozen or a dozen miles of your dwelling, 
where vice is daily and hourly putting forth, 
or at least germinating? Are there no mil- 
liners' shops, bonnet factories, or other places 
where large numbers of persons are assembled, 
especially of your own sex ? Are there no 
haunts of vice to which you can gain access, 
by person, by letter, or by proxy ? 

Need I say to you, who have seen some- 
thing of the world and read of much more, 
that a vast deal of good may be done, at 
almost any of those places? It would be 
needful to some young women, however, for 
me to say that it ought to be done in a proper 
manner. In this world, much depends on the 
manner in which we do things, especially 
things of the kind now referred to. 

Some of the individuals to whom you would 
do good, though gradually becoming abandoned, 


may not have lost all self-respect. They must 
therefore be met, and treated accordingly. For 
if, on the contrary, you criminate them at the 
outset, and above all, in the company of others, 
you will be almost certain to defeat your own 

Indeed, one reason why so many young 
women, at " places !' and in factories, become 
shameless, is because they first lose their self- 
respect. They then begin to think no one else 
cares for them ; and hence their progress is easy 
to a condition in which they care for nobody, 
or for themselves either. 

Now there is often a period, in the history of 
all such young women, when, notwithstanding 
their great want of self-restraint and self-gov- 
ernment, and the ill effects of a most perverted 
education, a word of sympathy from some in- 
dividual whom they respect, might save them 
from sinking. How much is it not worth to 
be the honored instrument of saving a fellow- 
creature at such a crisis ! 

A young man, whom I knew in Virginia, hav- 
mg been the instrument of saving a drowning 
companion at Williamsburg, was in the almost 


daily habit of relatiiig the story, to every friend 
he met with, for a long time. It was a great 
thing to him. And who would undervalue 
such a deed? But how much more impor- 
tant is it, to save a soul from sinking in a worse 
gulf than the bed of James river ? 

I am fully persuaded that if you keep your 
eyes open, as you pass through the world, you 
will have many an opportunity to pull from 
the fire beings made in the image of God, but 
sadly misled either by their own sex or ours, . 
or both. And remember still, that she who 
converteth a sinner from the error of her ways, 
shall save a soul from death, and hide a mul- 
titude of sins. 

Young women are apt to be timid, in rela- 
tion to this matter. They are fearful about 
their own good name. They will, perhaps, 
point us to JMcDowell, and tell us gravely, 
that if that eminent man of God, pure as he 
was, could not rise above reproach, there is 
surely but little hope that young women liKe 
themselves crai. 

But have you not read of the boldness of 
our Saviour in this particular ? Did he refuse to 


liold converse, though a Jew, with the woman 
at the well of Samaria ? Or what may seem 
to you to be more to the point, have you not 
read the life of Margaret Prior of New- York ? 
And have you not heard of Mrs. MeFarlin 
of New Bedford ? These persons have gone 
through years — and one of them through life — 
unscathed and unhurt Besides, times have 
altered since the days of McDowell. You 
fear personal abuse, it m^ay be, and even 
violence. But I do not think it need be so. 
Females generally pursue their errand by day- 
light, when rogues are apt to be cowardly. 
Besides, there is not one man in a thousand 
who will have the hardihood to insult an 
ho-nest straight-forward missionary, of any age 
or of either sex. 

In truth, there is something in the combina- 
tion of female boldness and innocence, that 
tends to disarm almost any man of guilty 
purposes, the seducer himself not excepted. 
This truth has been abundantly attested in 
every period of the world's history. 

Suppose, however, you should suffer. Sup- 
pose you should even die. Would not the old 


proverb be verified in yonr case — that " the 
blood of martyrs is the seed of the church ? 
Would not the cause of truth receive a mighty 
impulse from such a sacrifice ? 




There are many ways in which you maybe, 
directly or indirectly, instrumental in plucking 
brands from the burning ; or as I have called 
itj in my last letter, pulling souls and bodies 
out of the fire. For there are several ways, 
in which, to use the strong language of in- 
spiration, we may be set on fire. Half mankind 
are exposed to destruction, ere they reach life's 
quiet autumnal evenings and fireside reflec- 

It may be thought useless to dwell on the 
means and measures of plucking from the fires 
of alcohol ; because the subject has been Jong 
before the public. Besides, what has a young 
woman to do, you will naturally ask, with 
reclaiming the intemperate ? 

I will tell you of some things which may be 


done by women, whether young or old ; as 
well as of certain other things which young 
women may do,. better than their seniors. 

Women, young or old, may search for fami- 
lies who are in want, on account of intemper- 
ance in one or both their heads ; and having 
ascertained their real wants, they may go to 
the authors of those wants, and ask them to 
supply them. 

Thus, suppose you know of an intemperate 
family in the township where you reside. You 
pay them a visit. The father is not at home. 
His wife and children are all there, clad indeed, 
but with rags; and fed, but very scantily. 
The school-house is near by, but the children 
do not attend ; the church is not far oif, but they 
are never at the Sabbath school. The plea is, 
they have nothing decent to wear. 

You inquire for the father ; but all you can 
learn is that the times are hard, and he cannot 
get work. On inquiry elsewhere, you learn 
that he divides his time between the tavern 
and a couple of stores, one of which, as you 
verily believe, is as much at fault, or nearly as 
much, as the tavern, 


NoWj what will you do ? You have not 
money to furnish clothing for the family. Be- 
sides, what permanent good would it do ? You 
cannot hope to do much good by reasoning 
with the intemperate themselves. Go, then, 
with boldness, yet with kindness, and lay the 
case of the distressed family before those who 
furnish the liquor which causes their distress, 
and tell them they are the authors of their mis- 
eries. Go to them as privately as possible, 
however ; having with you a single friend only, 
as an evidence as well as a safeguard. 

But you need not fear. The moment you 
tell them what they ought to do, conscience, 
if they have any, will be on your side ; and 
they will seldom refuse your request. They 
will give something to get rid of you. In cer- 
tain cases, which I am not at liberty to mention, 
keepers of public houses, who were almost 
without consciences, have given liberally, espe- 
cially at the request of woman, 

I know of nothing more likely to move the 
hearts of these individuals who scatter fire- 
brands and death in the community, and lead 
them to pause in their mad career, than the 


tears and entreaties of a female missionary. 
She need not reproach them with intentional 
wrong-doing ; she may simply state facts. The 
distressed family is out of wood, — shoes, — 
clothing, — or bread. State their necessity in 
strong terms, and the cause of it ; and though 
the individual whom you address may deny 
that he has any participation in the crime, he 
will, as I have already said, put his hand in his 

When you plead the necessity of education, 
moral and intellectual, and ask for the means 
of sending the children to school, your case 
will be more trying. But even in this particu- 
lar you cannot, if importunate, fail to be success- 
ful. Though they may not give you because 
they care for you, or those whom they have 
made miserable, yet because of your impor- 
tunity, sometimes they will have pity on their 

All this, I say, you may be, and much more, 
whatever may be your condition in life, and 
whether you have any other than an Almighty 
arm to lean upon, or not. The righteous, says 
Solomon, are bold as a lion. They have at 


least a friend in the heavens. But there are 
some things which you can better do, in the 
capacity of a young woman, than if you were 
in conjugal hfe. 

No young man becomes grossly intemperate 
in a moment. He usually falls by Httle and 
little. The drunken father of a family was 
once a temperate young man. He may have 
been fond of excitement — unnatural excite- 
ment, I mean ; — no doubt he was so. Plain 
water and plain food were doubtless insipid to 
him. He was fond of high-seasoned food, 
and of hot and high-seasoned drinks. He was 
fond of hot tea and strong coffee ; of beer and 
champagne, and of the pipe and the cigar. 
From, these, in the aggregate — nay, from any 
two of them — the transition was easy to the 
love of rum and brandy ; and from the occa- 
sional use of them, in moderation only, if such 
a thing there is, the transition was easy to im- 
moderate drinking and habitual excess. 

Now the female companion of every drunken 
husband has probably received the visits, during 
her lifetime, of one or more young men who 
were on this high road to drunkenness. They 


used some of the unnatural excitants above 
mentioned, and were more or less enslaved to 
them ; and she probably knew it. True, she 
may not have been taught concerning the con- 
nection between them ; but this, though it does 
not lessen her- misfortune, extenuates her fault. 

Instead then of going abroad to pluck from 
the burning, you may often do your work quite 
as effectually at home, or in the circle of your 
particular friends. For in all these circles, or 
at least in most of them, you will meet with 
more or fewer young men. 

I have said that you may perform your mis- 
sionary work as efiectually at home as abroau 
This statement is not strong enough. If the 
old maxim is true that prevention is better than 
cure, and if young men, in general, are liable 
to become diseased, then you can work more 
effectually in a home sphere, than in a more 
public one. 

Your sex do not seem to be at all aware of 
the immense influence they might exert in the 
cause of temperance, if they would but sei 
their faces as a flint against all the habitf 
which lead to it. 


And why will they not do it ? Why will 
not every young woman make manifest to 
every young man, unless he is an entire stran-" 
ger, her disapprobation of the use of tobacco 
and other excitants, such as those I mentioned 
above ? And, if necessary, after repeated gen- 
tle admonitions, why should she not refuse to 
remain in his society 1 

One might think no woman of delicacy, 
young or old, would need cautioning on this 
subject. How can she endure the sight of 
teeth and gums besmeared and discolored with 
tobacco juice ? How can she bear to inhale 
the fumes of this poisonous weed, lodged in the 
clothes of the individual, or it may be issuing 
from his saturated system through the lungs ? 
How can she endure the smell of alcoholic 
liquors, after they have passed all over the 
body, and are being driven out through the air 
cells of the lungs and the pores of the skin ? 
How can woman, with her purer blood, put 
up with the bloated frame and reddened eyes 
induced by coffee, champagne, and other alco- 
hoMc or poisonous liquors ? 

There is one answer to these queries, which 


I wish the truth did not permit me to make. 
Not that the remark will apply to you, for I 
know better ; but it will apply to many of 
your sex. Pure as their blood and breath are, 
they are both far less pure than they might be, 
and would be, if they did not use any poisonous 
or medicated substances themselves. 

And herein, my dear friend, is, I fear, the 
true reason why young women are so inef- 
ficient in the cause of temperance ; they are 
not quite temperate themselves. They cannot 
Uve — or fancy they cannot — without extra 
stimulants, at least a little tea or coffee. No 
wonder, then, they do not refuse the company 
of those who are only a little more intemperate, 
and a little mere disgustingly filthy in their 
habits, than themselves. 

IjCt young women, then, who would do aL 
m their power to promote the cause of temper- 
ance, not only by pulling out of the fije, but by 
preventing their fellovz-creatures from falling 
into it, gird themselves anew by a more con- 
sistent and more perfect example. Let their 
light so shine that they and their companions, 
friends and associates, of both sexes, may be 


led to glorify their Father who is in Heaven. 
Let them touch not the unclean or poisonous 
thing, and let them, by their example, dissuade 
all others from it, that they may become tho 
sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. 




I HAVE hitherto spoken of the good you may 
do alone. I have indeed given you directions. 
in regard to friendship and the qualifications 
of friendship ; but m all, or nearly all I have 
said on that subject, I have continually been 
thinking of your own usefulness, and not of 
any direct aid you were to receive, or might 
hope to receive from others. 

But I must go a little further now; not 
so much to speak of what you can do as a 
wife, a mother, and a housekeeper — for of your 
duties in these various relations I have treated 
elsev^^here pretty freely* — as to say something 

* See the " Young Wife," the " Young Mother," the 
" Young Housekeepers," published by Messrs. Strong and 
Brodhead, Boston, 


of the numerous associations of the present 
day, into whose ranks — some of them — you 
Avill be hkely to fall. 

For the friends of the Maternal Association 
will expect you to join' them. Of the Sewing 
Circle, you must, of course, be a member. The 
Moral Reform Society will expect^^you to be 
one of their members. The Female Society 
for Promoting Education in the West will put 
in its claims, l^hen you are also expected to 
be a member of the Peace Society, the Tem- 
perance Society, the Tract Society, the Bible 
Society, the Foreign Mission Society, the Anti- 
Slavery Society, and perchance the Sabbath 
School Society, and the Society for the Ame- 
liorating the condition of the Jews. 

Here, surely, you have an opportunity to do 
something in a missionary capacity; for not 
only do these various associations have their 
agents, but in many instances, they are, by 
virtue of their constitution, or the nature of the 
case, agents themselves. 

Thus, suppose you are a member of the Sew- 
ing Circle. Not only do you give of your sub- 
stance — money, or clothing, -or books — to some 



charitable purpose, but you are expected to 
meet with your associates occasionally, and 
spend an afternoon, or a longer period, in labor- 
ing in behalf of the same charitable objects. 

Or suppose you have rniited with the Moral 
Heform Society. We have seen, in previous 
letters, what can be done by somebody, in the 
way of " pulling out of the iire ;" and nobody 
can do such work more efficiently than the 
members of this Society. Few persons in any 
age, have been more truly missionaries than 
Margaret Prior.* 

But there is a work to do, m this direction, 
to which I have, as yet scarcely adverted ; but 
which none I am sure can better do than yonng 
women. Society is full, as it were, of the 
sources of impurity. They are found, too 
often, where we should little expect them, and 
in such shapes that we scarcely perceive their 
real, legitimate tendency. 

Your situation I am well aware is, in this 
respect, peculiarly favorable. Still you will 

* See "'"Walks of Usefulness," published by the American 
Moral Reform Society in New-Vork. 


frequently come in contact with these fountains 
of pollution. There will be the innuendo ; the 
vulgar remark ; the double-entendre ; or at 
I'^ast there will be the amorous look or action. 
There will be perhaps some effort on the part 
of somebody, in your presence, to blunt the 
keen edge of female sensibility, or loosen the 
reins of woman's natural modesty. 

Now, whether the attack is made on you, or 
on some other person, I hope you will repel it 
m a becoming spirit and manner. It is even 
more necessary that you should act in this case 
when the abuse is directed to another person, 
than when it is directed to yourself For while 
m the latter case, you may reasonably enough be 
silent, in the former you are bound to step forth 
as the defender of female purity and innocence ; 
especially when the persons likely to sustain 
injury are much younger than yourself 

I have said, in a former letter, that we 
usually fall little by little. It is so with wo- 
man, as well as with man. Shun then, as you 
would the pestilence, the incipient stage of 
seduction, by shunning the individual who is 
the cause of it. In this way, and in other 



ways, can you do more for the cause of reform 
and moral purity — very much more — than in 
any other. The reason is, that this important 
field of missionary labor — though white for the 
harvest — is generally overlooked. 

You are a member, as I happen to know, 
of a Temperance Society ; and have pledged 
yourself to the disuse of all intoxicating liquors. 
Very well. But is there nothing more for you, 
as a female missionary, to do ? AVliat is your 
example in regard to the use of small beer, tea, 
coffee, &c, ? 

Or if your example is faultless, do you rest 
there, and suppose your work all done ? Or 
do you carry the war into the enemy's terri- 
tory ? Or do you refuse to mingle in society, 
on convivial and other occasions, where the 
thousand and one streams of intemperance are 
slowly fed ? 

But I will not dwell on this topic, for I have 
said enough elsewhere. Besides, you know 
how this matter stands, and in this respect at 
least need not counsel. Happy are they who 
know the will of God and do it. 

I might speak of the many ways of actmg 


out the missionary, as a member of a Peace 
Society, or as a signer of the league of Brother- 
hood. And so of your duties in relation to the 
missionary enterprises of the day, and the or- 
ganizations and efforts for the abolition of 
slavery. But I must close this letter soon, and 
have therefore no room for the present. 

Remember, however, one general rule. It is 
that you do much good, when you only pre- 
vent the commission of evil. To illustrate. 
Suppose you are in the Sewing Circle. The 
conversation runs into detraction or slander. 
Or you discover its tendency, perhaps, suffi- 
ciently early to check it. Now, in preventing 
a current of slander, do you not indirectly aid 
the cause of justice, truth, and righteousness ? 
Most certainly you do. 

In like manner, whenever the conversation 
takes a course which is likely to tend towards 
the indulgence of those feelings, or those pas- 
sions, or habits, which favor vice in any of its 
forms, you may often do much good, either by 
silence, or by kind and gentle rebuke. Or 
oftener still, by turning the current into another 


And hence the blessedness of those associa- 
tions, which some aftect to despise — especially 
to woman. Even at the head of a large family, 
woman is often isolated. At least she comes 
short of all the good she might accomplish. I 
like, therefore, the Maternal Association — the 
Sewing Circle — the Moral Reform Society, <fec. 
And yet I shall speak in my next of an as- 
sociation, which, if it did its perfect work, 
might almost be a substitute for many to which 
I have in this long communication alluded. 



Your love and zeal for the Sabbath Schoo, 
have long been manifest. In this respect, at 
least, you have suited the action to the word, 
as Shakspeare says. 

And well you may do it. The Sabbath is 
one of those institutions which have not only 
grown out of the prevalence of the Gospel 
spirit, but which mark its progress. • They 
prove to the world, beyond the possibility of 
debate, that it is more blessed to give than to 

You, I doubt not, have verified the truth of 
this maxim in the growth of piety in your 
own soul, as the consequence of your labors 
with Sabbath School children. You have 
found that they who water others shall them- 
selves be watered, . 


The Sabbath Schoo-l is a part of the church. 
It is notj strictly speakings a separate organ- 
ization. In binding yourself, therefore, as a 
church member, you not only bind yourself to 
the church, as a body of adults, but to the 
whole mass of families represented by the 
members of that church. 

I regard the church of Christ as a company 
of penitent sinners, collected together, in the 
providence, and by the appointment of God, 
for promoting their own spiritual growth, and 
for extendmg the same spirituality to others. 
They are a collection of Pauls — only, it may 
be with less of intellectual cultivation. They, 
have not all sat at the feet of Gamaliel. 

And yet I never make this concession with- 
out many misgivings } for we are quite ready 
enoughj without it, to apologize for our own 
neglect of dut^^ Tlie truth is, I do not know 
that it is beyond the poAver,of any individual 
of our times, who is endowed with an average 
share of good sense and intelligence, to do as 
much as Paul did, excepting always and of 
course what he did under the influence of in- 


But if not, the church ought to understand 
the matter in this hght. If with the know- 
ledge and muhiphed facihties of modern times, 
every individual Christian is not only as truly 
a divinely appointed missionary as Paul was, 
except to write epistles and work miracles, (and 
is there any one who will deny this doctrine?) 
then we ought so to understand it ; and to feel, 
as truly as he did, " Woe is me if I preach not 
the Gospel." ' ^ 

You ought, my dear friend, to feel thus. And 
if, as the result, you should feel as Paul did, 
that it is your duty to make proclamation of 
the Gospel, in all the countries of the known 
world, I do not know that I should have eithe . 
the right or the disposition to complain. The 
truth is, I wonder that every church member, 
not over 40 years of age — male or female- 
does not feel ihus. 

True it is that if, in the ardor of your firs : 
conviction and first love, you should feel dis- 
posed to become a public proclaimer or crier 
of the Gospel — if^ like Frances Wright Darus- 
mont, you should be disposed to mount the 
rostrum — I might endeavor to argue the poiuv 


with you, whether your zeal had not led you 
in a wrong direction. 

I might endeavor to show you the impor- 
tance and necessity of beginning your work at 
'' Jerusalem." I might endeavor to show you 
that all the signs of the times unite to indicate 
that the family and the church ought first to 
be converted to God, and duly sanctified ; and 
that here, in this great work, we need not 
merely a Paul but a host of Pauls ; and if an- 
gel, cherub, or seraph have any thing to do with 
the Christian scheme, a host of Gabriels and 
Michaels and Raphaels. 

I might beseech you — and [ do now make 
the earnest entreaty — to remember that the 
most important as well as most difficult mis- 
sionary field of modern times, is the home mis- 
sionary field ; — I mean now the family and the 
church, with their several appendages — the pub- 
lic or common school, and the Sabbath school. 
1 might prove, or at least attempt to prove, 
that to be a missionary, such a missionary as 
Paul was, is not only a work of paramount 
importance, but one which involves of necessity 


as great self-denial as any known missionary 
duty whatever. 

The Sabbath school, indeed, is not all you 
have to do with ; for, as I have just now inti- 
mated, the public or common school bears 
about the same relation to the family which 
the Sabbath school does to. the church. And 
as surely as the world is yet to be converted to 
Christianity — such a Christianity as is worthy 
of the name — just so su'-ely is it trucj that, on 
all these, v/e must labor to write Holiness to 
the Lord. 

Every child, within what might be called 
the pale of every Christian church, must be 
properly and religiously educated. To this the 
church is bound collectively. But what the 
church is, collectively, bound to do, must be 
done by the members of the church. They 
«re, in fact, the church. 

Now then, I trust, you v/ill go to your Sab- 
bath school class, not only on the Sabbath, but 
at your visits on week day, as a missionary of 
the cross of Christ. You will go to them with 
the same spirit and zeal which Paul would 


manifest ; or higher still, you will go to them 
with the spirit and zeal and love with Avhich 
the teachings of the Saviour would be invested 
in the same circumstances. 

One thing, in particular, I beg you to re- 
member. It is your involuntary influence, as 
a missionary. Your voluntary or willing in- 
fluence — all that makes a faithful and ener- 
getic Sabbath school teacher in the Sabbath 
school — you will be apt enough to think of. 
But what your influence shall be the rest of 
the time — when, though the sharp eyes of the 
pupils are upon you, you think not much about 
it, and are apt to teach the maxims and incul- 
cate the spirit of the Avorld rather than that of 
Christ — you are not so careful to consider. 
Yet it is this last which teaches, impresses, 
educates, forms the character — for time and for 
eternity — more, much more, than all the wil- 
ling, voluntary mfluence you exert. 



There is such a general laxity in the public 
morals of all countries, that to single out any 
particular country as sinning above the rest- 
especially our own goodly New England — 
might seem invidious ; indeed I am not dis- 
posed to do so. And yet to whom much is 
given of the same shall much be required. If 
New England, with ail her privileges and with 
the full blaze of gospel light which is shed 
upon her, is lax in her morals, sm'ely she needs 
to be cautioned. 

You, then, as one of the daughters of New 
England, may very fairly be addressed on the 
subject. There are many vices and errors of 
the times which dem^and our attention ; but 
I propose to direct your attention, just now, to 
abut two or three. 


And, first, the general disregard of truth 
which prevails ; and not only prevails, but in- 
creases. It is not among the vicious of society 
alone, that truth is disregarded ; but it is even 
among our best families. It is among these 
who would be, and should be, pa.tterns in all 
moral and religious excellence. 

In saying this, however, I do not intend to 
affirm that there is not as much truth told,, in 
the aggregate, as ever there was. Indeed I 
have not a doubt that truth, as v/ell as false- 
hood, is on the increase. But whether truth 
increases as fast as falsehood is quite another 

For who does not knov/, that with the in- 
crease of civilization and the arts — along with 
the multiplication of labor-saving machinery — 
come means and facilities of communication, 
by tongue and pen both — aye, in every form ? 
In other words, the greater tiie mental ac- 
tivity of society, the more we talk and write, 
the more, in the same proportion, do we hear, 
either of truth or falsehood. 

And now comes the difficulty. The more we 
talk, the greater the temptation to talk wrong— 


to dissemble, conceal, misrepresent, equivocate, 
and actually falsify. David said, "all men 
are liars ;" but he said it, as he acknowledges, 
in haste. A hasty man might say so now. 
All seem inclined to lie ; and certain it is, that 
what is said by most people must be received 
with much allowance for that discoloration to 
which self interest, in its various aspects, might 

Even the various parties and sects into which 
society is broken up — even these — incline 
to the same fault, in this respect, of which 
their various members are often guilty ! How 
could it be otherwise ? In truth, men seem pri- 
vileged to lie in politics. The more they can 
misrepresent, with a show of truth, the greater 
they seem to think their prospect of success. 

But when, as members of religious sects, 

men or women come to play the same game, it 

is, in its results, dreadful. I do not say that 

sectarianism is always reduced to a mere 

game ; but it certainly sometimes is. And the 

consequences, when it is done, can never bo 

too much deplored. 

Set yourself. Oh set yourself, in all your 
12* . . 


ways, words and actions — at home and abroad 
— i?i life and in death — against every form of 
untruth. Be on your guard, especially, in 
what are usually regarded as small matters. 
Here, if nowhere else, be the faithful mission- 
ary. At least, be a faithful missionary for 
trutli in your own family and among yom- own 

Another filing society is greatly given to is 
fraud, in its ten thousand shapes and forms — 
not excepting what are termed pious frauds. 
Here, too, great care is demanded, of females 
especiahy. Nor will the evil in question be 
removed, wholly, till females do, in earnest, set 
themselves about it. 

I will even hazard the assertion, that neither 
fraud nor falsehood will greatly diminish among 
us, till the female world — I mean the female 
Christian world — set the example of diminish- 
ing it. Men v/iil defraud and deceive, individ- 
ually and socially, as long as women connive 
at it ; na3^, even till they boldly rebuke it. No 
young woman should associate long with a 
man who persists in being fraudulent. 

One thing more ; and that is mercy. It is 

... . . '^^. 


often said that cruelty is the natural associate 
—the child rather — of idolatry. But in remov- 
ing idolatry from among us — if indeed we have 
done more as yet than to change the form — ■ 
we have not, as it appears, removed every form 
and vestige of cruelty. The germs of cruelty, 
to say nothing more, every where appear — 
well for US; if we do not have the fruits. In 
truth, hoAV could it be otherwise ? 

For whence come Vv^ar and murder, which 
still linger on our borders, nay, in our very 
midst? Has not James told us the whole 
story, eighteen hundred years ago ? Did wars 
and fightings on a large scale have their origin, 
at that time, in small beginnings — in pampered 
lusts and appetites — and have these latter no- 
thing to do, in the way of bringing about such 
results at the present time ? 

You may depend upon it, that as certainly 
as human nature is human nature, and as hu- 
man nature is the same now in all its essential 
features, that it was thousands of years ago, 
all the larger cruelties of mankind have their 
origin in the cruelties of infancy and youth. 

And over these cruelties, especially those of 


the cradle and play-ground, your own sex, as 
sisters, daughters or mothers, have very large 
control. Or if you cannot do every thing, you 
can do a great deal. You can, at least, t? y to 
do. You have found yourself able to accom- 
plish much, with your associates in the family. 
You have had influence with some of those 
who are beyond the family ; and what you 
have done, other young women may do, and 
you yourself may repeat, and increase. 

If you inquire for particulars, my reply is, 
that were I to commence the subject in de- 
tail, I should be obliged to fill a dozen sheets 
instead of one ; and this I cannot possibly do. 
A few brief hints must suffice. 

You have heard of the Roman Emperor, 
who, from the habit of sporting with the lives 
of flies, went on till he took a similar delight 
in sporting with the lives of men. But are 
there no fly-killers within the circle which 
Providence has assigned you ? 

Or if no fly-killers — have you no bird or 
fi^h or snake-killers? Of course, I do not mean 
to place all who kill in the same category ; for 
to one of these species of murders there seems 


a universal license given — I mean, now, snake- 
killing. But do not most of the young kill 
snakes, even, in the spirit of war and murder? 
Does one in ten ever kill them as matter of 
supposed duty ? Does one in ten, when they 
kill them, do it in the Christian spirit and in 
mercy's own name ? 

And whatever may be the apology, are 
not most of the animals around us, whether 
slain in one way or another — for food or for 
defence — are they not slain for sport ? Where 
is the boy or young man to be found vdio 
hunts, entraps, fishes, &c., for any better reason 
— were the matter closely examined — than be- 
cause it is an amusement to him ? Where is 
there one who is not by these sports developing 
and cultivating the spirit of cruelty ? 

But need I tell a young woman of your 
sense and experience, that all this is war and 
murder in the bud ? Need I say that Avithout 
this and other small beginnings which I could 
name, neither war nor murder — in a few gen- 
erations more — could be entailed upon the 
world ? 

You belong, it may be, to a Peace Society ; 


or if you do not, I know well your humane 
feelings would prompt you to it, if you had 
opportunity. In any event you abhor war, 
and regard it as decidedly and deeply unchris- 
tian as I do myself. 

But what could you do as the member of a 
Peace Society — nay, what can all the peace 
societies in the world do — in the way of in- 
ducing a v/arring world to beat its swords into 
ploughshares, and its spears into pruning- 
hooks, so long as the young are early initiated 
— or at least connived at — in their bloody prac- 
tices ? What could a cono^ress of nations do, 


Have you ever smiled on these juvenile mur- 
derers ? Have you ever ate the fruit of their 
doings ? Have you ever suffered such things 
to pass current, in your missionary circle, unre- 
buked ? If you have, be entreated to do it no 
longer. Paul would not. John would not. 
Jesus Christ would not. But a word to tho, 
wise must be sufficient. 



You know my views already about the gen- 
eral duty of woman in relation to the sick — 
that it consists in acting the part of the nurse, 
without intermeddling with the duties of the 

Were life long enough for every one to learn 
every thing, I should certainly rejoice to have 
woman understand well the human constitu 
tion, and the nature and power of medicine. 
I should rejoice -to see her, in this respect, a 
ministering angel in her own neighborhood, at 
least in her own family. 

But it is not so. If a few ca,n study the 
alphabet of those great sciences I have just 
mentioned, enough at least to enable them to 
feel their own ignorance, it is a few only. The 


great mass of both sexes have something else 
to do. There are few Miss Blackwells, and it 
will be so for years to come. 

Nursing, with the sick, I grant to be full half 
of what is to be done ; and sometimes more 
than half. A good nurse, without a physician 
and without medicines, will often do very well 
alone ; but the best physician in the world, and 
the best medicines, are worth nothing at all 
without good nursing — nay, they are worse 
than nothing. 

Now, that woman is pre-eminently qualified 
for the work of attendance on the sick, and for 
watching over them by night and by day, I 
suppose none will deny. And hence it is that 
in a world where sickness, or at least ill health 
in some form or other, has become almost the 
general rule and firm health the exception or 
nearly so, woman's aid is most imperiously 
demanded, and is exceedingly useful. Here, 
above all yet mentioned, may she act the mis- 
sionary, and here, too, is missionary labor very 
much needed. 

You have been singularly favored, thus far 
in life ; too highly favored — if this be not a 


paradox — for your own good. You hardly 
know how to take care of the sick when called 
to them. Besides this, you are timid and fear- 
ful. You lose your self-possession, and some- 
times become wholly unfit for the discharge of 
the duties which devolve upon you. 

The present sickly season will probably place 
you in new circumstances. It will be almost 
a miracle if you are not called upon, in the 
divine arrangements, to aid in half a dozen or 
a dozen families. Your greater maturity than 
that of many young women, will lead them to 
suppose you are by so much the better quali- 
fied for their purpose. 

Receive the call with thankfulness, rather 
than regret, should it be made, and immediately 
obey it. Have no fear of danger, except from 
your own neglect. There is seldom any just 
reason for supposing a disease to be in itself 
contagious. Besides, if in one case in a hun- 
dred or a thousand, such a thing as contagion 
should exist, to fear it would be the best course 
to invite it. 

You need not, hoAvever, in avoiding one ex- 
treme, run into another — that of recklessness. 


You must take care of yourself. Obey all the 
laws of health as far as you can. Breathe 
pure ah, keep clean, eat and drink with the 
most perfect regularity, retire early and rise 
earl]^, and avoid over-anxiety and fretfulness. 
Do all this, I mean, as far as the nature of the 
circumstances will permit. 

I say as far as you are permitted by circum- 
stances ; for it often happens that disease falls 
upon the poor ; and it still oftener happens that 
they are the persons who most require your 
services. Their sick will be in small un venti- 
lated rooms ; and they will be without a great 
many other conveniences which the laws of 
health would indicate. Occasionally, too, you 
will have to watch over them by night. When 
you do this last, however, be sure to sleep the 
next day, more or less. Or otherwise be care- 
ful, in deferring it, not to over-sleep when the 
succeeding night arrives. 

One thing you should avoid with double 
solicitude. Thousands who go among the 
sick, either by change of habits or by other 
causes, become somewhat deranged in their 


digestive systems and resort to medicine. Now 
medicine, of all kinds, and at all times, es- 
pecially active medicine, is quite dangerous 
enough, except when given by a skilful physi- 
cian; but it is peculiarly so, when you are 
among the sick. Avoid it, in these circum- 
stances, as you would poison. 
. Although you have had little experience in 
sickness, do not imagine there is any mystery 
into which you must be initiated, in order to 
success. The whole consists in taking good 
care. I have spoken of the necessity of obe- 
dience to the physical laws on your own part ; 
but it is still more necessary that the sick 
should obey. 

The soft but prompt hand ; the gentle but 
ready voice ; indulgence when it is admissible, 
but firmness to refuse where it must be so ; the 
most rigid obedience to the directions of the 
medical adviser, and yet a constant adherence 
to your own good sense in regard to the cir- 
cumstances ; these are among the most impor- 
tant directions I can possibly give you. 

Only one word more, and that seems hardly 


necessary. It relates to medicira. Many 
think that when they are through with their 
duties to a sick friend, they must certainly take 
a dose of physic to carry off the diseased ten- 
dencies Avhich may exist ; or, as is sometimes 
said, to cleanse the blood. Nothing can be* 
more unsafe. But of all the superstitions 
which prevail, the notion that the blood can be 
purified by a dose or two of medicine is most 
ridiculous, not to say most despicable. 

And yet great multitudes of sensible people 
fall victims to this superstition. A sister of my 
own, whom I much esteemed and loved, and 
her husband, were residing in Haddam in Con- 
necticut about thirty years ago, during the pre- 
valence of typhus fever, and Avere compelled to 
be much among it. At length, Avhen the dying 
were dead and buried, and the living partly 
recovered, my brother and sister thought it 
necessary to "physic off" the system a little, 
or " cleanse the blood." Accordingly they took 
physic. In a few weeks they were both joined 
to the great congregation of the dead. 

Avoid then, I say again, this foolish and 


!iurtful error. The best preventive of disease 
is firm health and good habits. Obey God's 
laws, and live ; disobey thenij and you are no 
longer safe. 



You will have one objection to bring against 
the counsels of some of the foregoing chapters, 
viz., that I mistake entirely yom' circumstances, 
and expect you to give up that time which is 
indispensable to obtaining the means of support. 

For how can a young woman, who lives by 
the labor of her hands, be able, you will say, 
to be a missionary, in all or even one half of 
the various ways which have been pointed 

In general, I reply, by "redeeming the time," 
as the Scriptures call it; that is, by making the 
most of it. Much of the past has been wasted. 
What remains — be it less or more — must be 
spent more profitably. Not only must every 
moment; in all time to come, be taken care of 


and turned to good account, but it must be 
made the most of. You must learn to deny 
yourself and take up the cross. 

I do not mean by this, of course, that you 
must do nothing but labor for the good of 
others, in any such sense as will lead you to 
despise amusement and relaxation, and almost 
grudge the necessary time for sleep. You 
know I have insisted on the necessity of 
amusement to every body, in some of my for- 
mer letters. 

But then I have also insisted — and must 
here do it again — that you may and should so 
arrange your business and duties, as to have 
many of your engagements be neither more or 
less than amusement to you. In this way alone, 
you will be able to redeem much time which 
would otherwise be wasted in amusement foi 
its own sake. 

It is quite unfortunate, I repeat, that you 
entertain such views as you do, about the 
drudgery and slavery of doing things by sys- 
tem. For myself, I never feel more truly free 
and independent than when I am carrying out a 
plan, to which I have practically bound myself. 


I do most earnestly entreat you to try, once 
more, to pat yom-self upon such a system of 
living that every hour may have its specified 
duties from which there can be no discharge. 
For then alone, as it seems to me, will you 
truly enjoy your life. This doing every thing 
at random or hap-hazard, though when done 
it were done well, is unworthy of a rational 

Thus 37-ou should have your hours of rising 
and of retiring ; of bathing and dressing; of 
reading and of devotion ; of making calls and 
of laboring in the garden and elsewhere ; and 
you should depart from them as seldom as pos- 

It is not easy for you to imagine how much 
you seem to gain — how much more time you 
seem to have and really will have, when you 
live by a regular system, than when you live in 
your present desultory manner. The joys of 
life will be doubled to you, if not tripled. 

But then you must not only have a system 
— it should be a good one. True, one not 
quite so excellent is better than none. Still it 
requires a good degree of knowledge of your 


own constitution of body and mind, as well as 
of your capabilities, to adopt a system which is 
susceptible of no improvement. Indeed you 
will probably find occasions to vary even a 
tolerably good system, from time to time*, as 
new light shall beam upon your path. 

Suppose, for example, you resolve on lelidng 
at nine and rising at four in summer, and of 
retiring at eleven and rising at six in l(ui Aviji . 
ter. You may find after much expeikuico, ic- 
flection and study, that it were bettor U) leliic 
in winter at ten and rise at five, ^nd suioly 
you ought to follow out your convictions «>f 
truth and duty. 

I am not quite certain that yon slorp ((\) 
much, taking the whole time togt^tlier; a ad \,'i't 
that you sometimes do, there cnn bo iio doiiljt. 
Or at least you lie in bed tuo long. JJnrgh 
says, in his "Dignity of Human Natn.e,'' I hat 
there is no time more wicliedly wa^«!led llian 
that which is spent in dozing- -that is^ hal I svay 
between sleeping and waking. 

But there is another fact in connive ti()n with 

this which should be remembered. By negli- 


gence and delay in regard to rising when the 
seven hours arejnst expired, one who might 
otherwise sleep enough in seven hours may 
spread out her sleep, as it were, to eight hours 
or even more. In other words, the sleep 
which is longer continued, will be less sound 
in the same proportion. Much precious time 
lias been wasted in this way. 

By a little care in this particular, and by 
being as regular in your hours as possible, I 
think you may save an hour in twenty-four, 
throughout the year. For I am quite confident 
you spend at least eight hours in and about 
the bed, every day, taking the whole year to- 
gether ; which, for a person of your age and of 
your temperament and habits, if not for almost 
any person over thirty years of age, is at least 
an hour more than is necessary. 

Again, you may save time in dressmg. 
Young women waste a great deal of time at 
the toilet and glass. How much is indispen- 
sably necessary, I will not undertake to deter- 
mine. But if every one will wash her whole 
person daily in water, and put on a simple, 
clean apparel^ without any plaits, ruffles, floun= 


ces, curls &c. I am sure it need not take g. 
very large share of female time to dress prop- 

Neatness and cleanliness of person and dress 
are indispensable ; but she who feels a greater 
pleasure in doing good, than in looking pretty, 
will be very cautious about all that is beyond 
this. And she who is duly cautious will find 
herself able to redeem a great deal more time 
in twenty-four hours than she is aware. 

But there is another way in which and by 
which you may save almost half yom* waking 
hours. It is by a thorough reform in matters 
which pertain to eating and drinking. I know 
well that I shall be met at the threshold of 
this subject by the reply that woman is obliged, 
in this respect, to suit the depraved tastes and 
habits of others ; and that therefore the attempt 
at reform should begin with others. This ob- 
jection is partly true and partly untrue. It is 
true that woman has to please others, and 
may not, therefore, be able to accomplish at 
once, all she might devise in the way of refor- 
mation ; and yet, if her heart were fully set on 
knowing and doing the right, she could accom- 


plish ten times as much as she now supposes ; 
She could, at least, redeem a part of her time. 
And the more she should do, the more she 
mighl do. Man will not be so capricious and 
unreasonable in his appetites and habits, when 
"woman ceases to pander to them by unreason- 
able and wicked cookery. 

For, say what you will about the necessities 
of youi couvlition, woman is as truly enslaved 
to the din of pots and kettles and tables, as 
man is to his appetites and passions ; and more 
than this is even true. Her slavery is a willing 
one. She i^ as fond of excitement and of ex- 
citing food and drinks, as man. 

Now if you view this matter in its proper 
light, you mu^t act. Li stead, for example, of 
spending, on an average, three or four or five 
hours a day in preparing the food of the family 
to which you now belong, o;- to which you may 
herearter be attached, it is highly probable that 
an average of abv^u. one hour will answer 
every important purpose. I mean every pur- 
pose of enjoyment aad hear.h -mere fashion 
being exciud?d. 

You will stiil ?ay. }-ou cannot control the 


arrangements of the family in which you reside 
at present. No, you cannot entirely ; but you 
can do what you can. And whenever in the 
good providence of God you come to be placed 
at the head of another family, your efforts to 
do what you can, in your present position, will 
have prepared you to do much more, in a situ- 
ation where you will have much greater power. 

If you have in your mind's. eye a correct 
standard, it will not be difficult to approach 
that standard continually — to be always mak- 
ing advances. And every minute you gain or 
enable others to gain is so much saved. Even 
in the family where you now reside, you can 
do much by acting in conformity with truthful 
precept and practice yourself, if others do not. 
Your example and practice will not— cannot — 
be lost, even though you remain alone. 

The necessaries of life require but little of 
our time in their preparation. It is luxuries 
which keep us all the while chained to the 
car. I know, indeed, that it is difficult to 
make a line of demarkation between luxuries 
and necessaries, especially as the luxuries of 
to-day become the necessaries of to-morrow ; 


the luxuries of to-morrow the necessaries of the 
day after ; and so on. Still we may do some- 
thing towards it. 

Thus bread, which is the staff of life, costs 
but little time. Four hours' laboij by a good 
housekeeper, will furnish bread enough to last 
a family of five persons about six days. This 
is 40 minutes a da^r. Then allow 20 minutes 
more for setting the table, cleaning the dishes, 
(fcc, and you have an aggregate of one hour a 
day, to be expended on food and cookery. - 

You will say, man cannot live on bread, 
alone. Yes, he can. Nevertheless, I do not 
think it advisable that he should. It is indeed 
the staff of life — the main thing. But there 
are many farinaceous articles, almost as good 
as bread ; and then there is the whole cata- 
logue of fruits besides. 

And yet, extend the list of healthy dishes as 
far as you will, and you will hardly find ano- 
ther whose preparation is more costly than 
bread. To prepare a fire (though the fire itself 
is often prepared to our hands) and bake half 
a peck of potatoes, requires but a few minutes 
of time. Or rather it requires but a few min- 



utes to place them in the oven and take them 
out again. 

And is not rice as easily cooked — and beans 
and peas, and turnips and beets — as bread is ? 
And how long does it take to prepare milk for 
the table ? Most happily the fruits, many of 
them, are already prepared for us in God's own 
way. It costs .none of our time to prepare 
them, and only a little to collect them from the 
trees, -shrubs, or vines where they grow. 

It is the cakes, pies, sauces, preserves, and 
mixed dishes, with the seasonings, and condi- 
ments that accompany them, and the tea, coffee, 
chocolate, or shells, that consume about seven- 
eighth's of woman's time, and leave her so little 
for missionary purposes. 

They do so, in three ways. 1. They rob 
her of her time, in a direct manner. 2. They 
enfeeble her vital energies, and those of her 
friends for wiiom she cooks, and thus lessen 
her efficiency for other purposes. 3. They 
keep her mind in a lower region than they 
should, and they make the society in which 
she moves, and must move, at once " earthly, 
frensual," and in every respect undesirable. 


To illustrate my subject, let me state briefly, 
what I seen in one instance ; for I have 
long been a traveller, and have endeavored to 
travel with my eyes open. 

There is a region of New England, where 
two days of each week are dervoted, almost ex- 
clusively, to cookery ; especially during tlie 
winter. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, it 
would seem as if the great end and aim of 
housekeepers were to exceed any- thing ever 
before known, either by themselves or others, 
in the richness and abundance of their dishes. 

On Saturday, more particularly, instead of 
making preparation for the Sabbath, house- 
keepers pursue a course, the results of which 
are as likely to unfit both themselves and their 
families for the duties and privileges of this 
day, as if this were the great object for which 
they labor. They come to the Sabbath care- 
worn, and almost Vvithout any strength of mus- 
cle or energy of mind ; and are just fitted to 
deal out to their friends, in the form of dinners 
or otherwise, what will, almost inevitably, ren- 
der them as stupid as themselves. 

Now this energy of body and mind is not 


expended in preparing plain food ; for this, as 
I have said already, costs but little labor. They 
spend themselves literally, " for that which is 
not bread," and which doth not profit. They 
wear themselves out in making pies, cakes, 
tarts, rich sauces, gravies, &c. 

Nor is this wicked waste of time and 
strength — aye, and money too — confined to 
two days of the week, and to a- few families, 
or even to the particular portion of country to 
which I have referred. It has become, to a 
great extent, the order of the day both there 
and elsewhere. Woman is become, in this re- 
spect, the veriest slave to arbitrary and unrea- 
sonable custom you can imagine. 

I am not quite certain that it is necessary to 
put you on your guard against the danger of 
sliding into this dreadful current. And yet I 
have my fears for you. Besides, if you were 
in no danger of going any farther than you 
have already gone, are you quite sure you 
have not already gone too far ? 

You will smile at this inquiry, I dare say ; 
but smile on, if you choose. It may be my 
turn to smile bv and by ; unless, indeed, the 


subject should prove so serious as to excite 
tears rather than smiles. 

Do you not spend several hours of each week 
in the work of preparing dishes, for yourself or 
the family in which you reside, which, though 
harmless compared with many others that I 
might mention, do yet take up a vast amount 
of valuable time ? Suppose this time to be but 
six hours ; are not six hours a matter of con- 
sequence ? 

Let us consider this matter. You spend 
this portion of time weekly, in making, not in- 
deed the richest preparations, but such as you 
will acknowledge to be far less wholesome 
than good plain bread, or bread and milk ; or 
rice, plain puddings, plain fruit or vegetables. 

Do you say your time is your own, and you 
have a right thus to spend it ? I grant the 
claim in part ; but a part only. Your time is 
your own ; at least, it is loaned to you that 
you may be a free agent in the manner of ex- 
pending it. Still, you are responsible for its 
use. You are bound to spend it in such a Avay 
as will be likely to do the most good. 

And can you seriously believe there is no 


way in which you could expend so profitably 
your six hours of each week, as in making 
cakes and pies, even plain ones ? Might you 
not, after preparing that food only which is 
plain and simple, just spend the residue in 
something else ? 

Suppose a sick neighbor requires your aid. 
You have an abundance of plain food in the 
house, either already cooked, or susceptible of 
being prepared for the table in a very short 
time. Nay, admit that you have plenty of 
good bread, milk, and fruits. On these you 
could live happily enough for a week if neces- 
sary ; only your perverted appetite is ever and 
anon calling for rich dishes, and you love to 
gratify it. 

But now that your neighbor is sick, and 
needs your aid, as an attendant or nurse, and 
the question comes fairly before your mind, 
which you ought to do — content yourself Avith 
the plain food you already have, and thus be 
able to do good by visiting the sick, or yield 
to a clamorous appetite, and indulge yourself 
and let the sick go — is tliere any doubt which 
you will do ? 


Some would say, It is not so much for my- 
self that I would go and prepare other dishes, 
as to have something to set before friends, 
should they call. I could confine myself to 
the plainest viands a long time, for the sake of 
helping the sick, or performing many other 
kind of&ces in society ; but to set these plain 
things before my friends, would be a greater 
self-denial than I should be ready to make. 

But would you say this ? I know better. 
You would deny yourself at once. Suppose, 
however, the needy sick individual is a mile 
distant — would you do it in that case ? Sup- 
pose the distance to be two miles — three miles 
— five miles — how then ? Or suppose it to be so 
great that you cannot go yourself at all, but 
can only rouse somebody else by your prayers 
or letters, or other efforts, to do something, 
either personally or by proxy, which shall afford 
relief as the result — would you then do it ? 

If you doubt or hesitate, why should you ? 
Does distance, when the want is well known, 
lessen at all your obligation 7 What though 
the suffering was in' Ireland, or eveii on the 
opposite side of the globe — is it the less real ? 

' " SELF-DENIAL. 207 

Is not the sufferer your brother still, or your 
sister ? And Avill you hesitate, for a moment, 
about the httle self-denial — or if you please so 
to call it, self-sacrifice, which is required? 
Will you, as a Christian, dare to do it ? 

Or, once more ; suppose this individual is 
soul sick, rather than afflicted with bodily dis- 
ease. Suppose him, I mean, ignorant or vicious. 
He is without the light of the Gospel, it may 
be ; or if not, he has not yet made it of any 
practical value, by receiving it with joy and 
gratitude, and endeavoring to comply with its 
blessed requirements. In short, he is yet the 
slave of sin — without hope, and without God 
in the world. In this case what will you do 7 

You see I have not brought to you an ima- 
ginary case. For if there are no sick imme- 
diately around you, they are to be found some- 
where. And if there were no persons on the 
great globe who needed your aid, for the pur- 
pose of restoring either body or miud, is not 
the -great field of prevention wide open to 
you ? And is not prevention far better than cure 7 

Now it does seem to me, either that woman 
is thoughtless in this matter, or else voluntarily 


and greatly wicked. For charity's sake, I will 
believe she is thoughtless. Such a view as I 
have taken, of her obligations and the duty of 
a little self-denial, has probably not been pre- 
sented distinctly to her mind. I do not say that 
she would come up to her duty, in every in- 
stance, if it were so ; but I think she would 
be more likely to act in light than in the dark- 
ness of ignorance. 

However, it is not in the matter of self-in- 
dulgence at the table alone that she is loudly 
called, as a missionary, to self-denial and self- 
sacriiice ; it is in regard to sleep, dress, and 
many other things. And if 3^ou do not need 
these hints, do not some of your neighbors ? 
Do not your sex generally ? How can woman 
co-operate with Christ to the full extent of her 
power and capacity, till she knows of what she 
is capable, and what is her duty ? How can 
she be a Christian missionary till she knows 
what a Christian missionary is ? 

I wish you would properly consider this 
whole matter. For until woman can be 
brought to consideration, her time will not be 
redeemed ; nor will she act as an efficient mis- 


sionary. She must be dead and buried — prac- 
tically so, I mean — for about three-fonrths of 
her working hours. 

When I say I wish you would consider the 
matter, I mean your sex, of which you are a 
representative. I grant indeed, that you do 
not sink yourself and others, quite as low as 
majiy do, because your lot is more favorably 
cast than that of many young women. 

And yet, remember that to whom much is 
given, of the same shall much be required. 
If you have half your time redeemed already, 
so far as food and cooking are concerned, re- 
member that this but increases your responsi- 
bility to use that time in such a way as will 
tend to emancipate others from the error, 
from which God in his providence has already 
exempted you. 

It is quite withm the bounds of truth to say 
that, all things considered, woman's time might 
half of it be saved by a proper and reasonable 
change in the habits of society, and every body 
be made the better and the happier for it. 

Do you say that this takes for granted that 


woman, when relieved from slavery to sensual 
customs, will immediately betake herself to her 
appropriate sphere, whereas facts prove the 
reverse ? The truth is, I am not saying what 
she will do, so much as what she might do, 
and what she ou2;ht to do. 

For I am not by any means ignorant that 
where, by virtue of custom and affluence, or at 
least the former, woman has a full supply of 
what is called help in her domestic department, 
it here and there happens that this help is help 
indeed, and she is relieved from her cares to an 
extent that would enable her to act out the 
missionary, according to the general tenor of 
the doctrines of my letters — and yet with this 
increased capability of doing more of angels' 
work than before, she commonly does less. 

Not but that she makes and keeps the ac- 
quaintance of a few friends and neighbors, 
and makes a sufficient number of " morning 
calls." But this acquaintance and those calls 
accomplish almost any thing else rather than 
the purposes whereto they were sent and 
designed. Instead of elevating mankind, as 


they might, very much indeed, they probably 
have the contrary effect, and tend to debase 

One of the greatest difficuhies I shall have 
to meet in endeavaiing to m.ake'yoH an efficient 
missionary is your love of home, and of quiet, 
and your general desire to please. You wish 
to be in the shade — to see and not be seen so 
much. You Vv^sh to do your own business, 
and not seem to meddle with that of others. 

Especially will it be to you a work of self- 
denial, to stand out of the ranks of housekeep- 
ing on the old plan, and for the sake even of 
doing good — of pulhng people out of the fire 
— to become a by-word and a proverb, if not a 
hissing, to the community around you. 

I admit that it is no trifle for woman to 
take the ground indicated in this letter ; and 
yet, take it she must before she can be eman- 
cipated — I mean, before she can be emanci- 
pated as a sex. 

She must not longer tolerate customs which 
keep her in bondage all her days, not only to 
those very customs, but which encourage and 


perpetuate ignorance and crime, by feeding the 
fires of impnrity and intemperance. She must 
come up to the work of self-denial almost as 
much for her own sake as for the sake of others. 
I have dwelt to an unusual length on this 
great subject, and yet seem ha,rdly to have be- 
gun my remarks. May I hope that jon will give 
it due consideration ? May I hope — may, I jiot 
hope rather — to see you a burning and shining 
light in the journey of life, and that your path 
and that of those around you, will be made 
brighter and brighter by your eiforts, till you 
reach the portals of eternal day ? 



In concluding this long series of letters, allow 
me first to recapitulate a little ; and then to 
present a few additional reasons why you 
should endeavor to act up to the spirit of what 
I have from time to time suggested. 

I have endeavored to show you that God, 
in his providence, and in the work of redemp- 
tion, has constituted every human heing — es- 
pecially every young woman — a missionary. 
I have endeavored to point out, briefly, what 
it is to be a missionary, at home and abroad, 
in school and in church, by pen and by tongue, 
by precept and by example. I have told you 
of some things that may be done single-handed, 
and of some that can better be done by asso- 


ciated eifort — what must be done alone, and 
what demands the aid of friendship, especially* 
conjugal friendship. Finally, though rather 
incidentally — as I did not at first intend it— I 
have spoken of qualifications for friendship, 
especially conjugal friendship. 

In pursuance of my plan, I have spoken of 
the love we ought to have for our fellow beings, 
and have dwelt, at some length, on the duty 
of denying ourselves — perhaps, even, of laying 
down life for them — should the case requn-e 
it. On this topic — the duty of self-sacrifice — 
I crave your patience a littie farther. 

The world never has been advanced one 
inch, and — such are the divine arrangements 
— never can be, without not only much self- 
denial, but also much self-sacrifice. In truth, 
this seems to me the very corner stone and 
pillar of Christianity.. I beseech 3rou, says 
Paul, that you present yourselves " a living 

Yv^e must not only be willing to live on the 
simplest fare, and be clad in the coarsest ap- 
parel, and sleep on the plainest bed, in order 


to save time and means for carrying out our 
missionary plans and purposes, but we must 
De willing to sacrifice our own just rights, lose 
our health, and die prematurely, if in no other 
way our object can be accomplished. 

Has woman — even redeemed woman — this 
willingness to do, and 6e, and suffer^ almost 
any thing which can be laid upon her, for 
Christ's sake ? Is she willing to give up the 
idea of pleasing others — by following the 
fashions which custom has imposed in re- 
gard to dress, furniture, equipage, food, cookery, 
(fee, — and serve, and please, with supremest 
diligence, the Lord Christ ? Is she ready and 
willing to come up to the spirit of the great 
truth, " It is more blessed to give than to re- 
ceive ?" 

Or is she of those who, as Paul says, " seek 
their own, not another's good ?" Is she not — ■ 
Mr. Flint and Mungo Park to the contrary not-, 
withstanding — supremely selfish, not to say 
sensual ? Does she not " desire to hav^ 
as James expresses it, — not indeed hou 
and lands and stocks, but those things wl 


tend to make female life what she wouia 
deem comfortable^with an intensity which 
is hardly exceeded by our own sex ? 

I leave the decision of these questions, m^^dear 
sister, to you and others. Understand me, how- 
ever. I am not blowing hot and cold, as the say- 
ing is, in the same breath. I am not making wo- 
man now almost an angel, and now as selfish 
and low as the rest of the world. If she is thus 
a paradox, I did not make her so. It is because 
she is made to he angelic, and may and ought 
to become so, that I regret to find any relics of 
a fallen nature about her, especially one so 
odious as selfishness. I would have her be a 
woman, and strive to be a god, as the poet 
Young would say. I would have her, finc^lly 
and in one word, act up to the dignity of her 
natme and fulfil her mission. 

Be it yours to set an example to your own and 
unborn generations, of woman as she should 
t)e. Redeem your time. Waste it not, as 
vv^oman does continually, on thQ things of 
time and sense, that peiish in the using, and 
lea e others to perish; but use it to the glory 


of God our Saviour and the good of mankind. 
So shall you save a soul from death, and be 
a means of saving others. So shall your path 
be that of the just, which shines brighter and 
brighter to the perfect day. 

she is made to he a*^^ 

to become so, that I regret to tiriu mx^ 

a fallen natm'e about her, especially one so 

odious as selfishness. I Avouid have her be a 

vvoman, and strive to be a god, as the poet 

Young would sa}^ I would have her, finally 

and in one word, act up to the dignity of her 

nature and fulfil her mission. 

Be it yours to set an example to \^our own and 
unborn generations, of woman as she should 
•be. Redeem your tim.e. Yv^aste it not, as 
woman does continually, on the. things of 
time and sense, that perish in the using, and 
lea e others to perish; but use it to the glory